Duke Energy: More lineworkers needed as industry grapples with shortage

Lineworkers are in high demand at Duke Energy in North Carolina.

What You Need To Know

  • Duke Energy is hiring lineworkers amid what they call a nationwide shortage
  • Jesse Tinoco, a lineworker for Duke Energy, joined the company because of better pay and career growth
  • Duke Energy said they have enough workers currently to keep power on but they are being proactive for future energy needs

According to the company, there are 970 lineworkers working at there across the state. On average, 49 of them leave the company or retire every year.

Duke Energy Lead Communications Manager Logan Kureczka said this trend is similar in the other states they operate in: South Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

Another factor contributing to a shortage of lineworkers, Kureczka said, is the decline in people entering this field of work.

“The shortage of lineworkers is, again, nationwide. It’s across utilities,” Kureczka said. “It’s a career where there is a lot of opportunity.”

While some are not entering this career field, people, including Jesse Tinoco, are eager to be a lineworker.

“This field is exciting so I like it,” Tinoco said.

The 22-year-old has been a lineworker for two-and-a-half years. He worked for another company before joining Duke Energy in January.

As of May 20, Duke Energy had 120 job openings for lineworkers.

Kureczka said while there is a shortage of lineworkers, Duke Energy has enough people to keep power running. However, she said the company is planning for the future.

“We have the need for lineworkers, not only to respond to storms, but to respond and when the power goes out, but to be working on some of the special projects that do that work so we are replacing power poles. We are working on ways to make our grid stronger for the future, so as we continue to add electric vehicles, we’ll have the grid that we need,” Kureczka said.

Tinoco joined Duke Energy because he saw a future at the company with better pay and career growth.

“I guess the sky is the limit to what you want to do here,” Tinoco said.

For now, he’s enjoying doing something that is different everyday that he said is fun and challenging at the same time.

“When you get to provide for the customer, it’s very rewarding,” Tinoco said.

The qualifications for a lineworker include high school diploma or GED, valid driver’s license and preferably a certificate from a local community college lineworker training program.

Duke Energy works closely with 10 community colleges offering the training programs and recruits a diverse pool of candidates from them.

These training programs often have federal or state grants to help students cover the costs of the training.

The entry level salary for a Duke Energy lineworker or apprentice is $40,000 with a performance-based annual bonus. They are also eligible for overtime pay.

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