When electric power goes out, troubleshooters are the first at the scene to determine what caused the outage. They’re the individuals who work with overhead linemen and splicers to handle storm damage. If a cable blows up, it’s the troubleshooter who isolates, deenergizes, and makes temporary repairs until an inspector can make permanent repairs.
Local 369 member Tammy Pease recently became Eversource’s first female troubleshooter. For 11 years, she worked her way up to the job, starting as a helper, moving on to splicer, and completing a one-year apprenticeship and passing a 50-question verbal test. Pease says these qualifying hurdles ensure you understand the job and are ready to be responsible for the safety of others.
“As a splicer or helper, you’re passing tools to someone in a manhole,” said Pease. “You must be able to operate a jackhammer and help get your coworker out of a manhole safely.” The job requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in order to operate heavy equipment like a lugger and quartermount. But Pease says her union sisters shouldn’t let the physical demands of the work scare them away from the opportunity: “Yes, the job is dirty and requires some strength, but if I can do it, anyone who is in decent shape can, too.”
While Pease shattered her company’s troubleshooter glass ceiling, she may not be alone at the top for long. “The job was always open to anyone, but no women had expressed interest,” she said. That could soon change. Five or six of her Local 369 sisters currently work as underground splicers and several more are helpers and could eventually choose to pursue a troubleshooter position.
Pease now works as part of a team of both troubleshooters and inspectors that cover a large geographic area. After more time on the job, she says she may have the opportunity to become Eversource’s first female inspector — breaking down yet another barrier for her UWUA sisters.
The support received from her UWUA brothers and sisters throughout her journey has been critical to her success, Pease said. “I pull my own weight, and they’ve been right there to help. We all have each other’s backs.”