By YUEHAN LIU
Capital News Service
LANSING—Consumers Energy plans to hire more than 50 line workers to expand its electric line workforce next year to respond more effectively to emergencies.
In addition, the company will hire up to 50 apprentice line workers annually for the next several years.
“The goal is to hire more qualified workers to increase the workforce that responds to emergencies, enhances system reliability and restores electric service following storms,” Terry DeDoes, the public information director at Consumers Energy, said.
According to DeDoes, the company currently has 700 line workers. Typically, line workers are on the job eight hours a day, and their work hours might increase during storms and other emergencies.
“We are expanding shifts to cover 16 hours a day, seven days a week to enhance our ability to restore electric interruptions safely and quickly. While our customer service is strong, we intend to drive the overall customer experience to an even higher level,” Cathy Hendrian, the vice president of human resources, said in a announcement.
DeDoes said the company is concerned about worker’s safety, so it pays attention to their training. “It takes about 9,600 hours of on-the-job training and classroom work to advance to a journeyman line worker from a basic line apprentice,” according to the announcement.
According to the announcement, the company partners with Lansing Community College (LCC) for the lineworker apprentice program.
“The program is open to the public. Everyone can apply to the program, and at the end of the program, there is a chance for students to go into Consumers Energy,” said LCC’s Alecia Kolhoss.
According to LCC’s electrical utility lineworker program, approximately 20,000 new positions would open before 2020 nationally for lineworkers, and the Michigan projection is for more than 100 job openings per year.
Last year, Michigan line workers had $33.84 median hourly pay, $2 more than the national median.
In addition to restoring electric service interruptions, the electric line crews at Consumers Energy perform tasks such as upgrading and constructing electric distribution systems.
By YUEHAN LIU