by Rebecca Band
Photos by John Storey
In late June, a nine-man crew comprised of IBEW 1245 members from Par Electric was sent in to place one phase of a circuit on the Morro Bay 230kv line, off Highway 41 near Atascadero.
“We’re taking out a span of wire,” explained General Foreman Ken Fields. “We’ll pull it out with a V groove, we’ll pull a rope in behind it, and then we’ll hook up a new wire and pull the new wire in.”
While the work itself wasn’t particularly unusual, the terrain was exceptionally rugged, and ground access to the area was pretty limited, so the crew had to utilize a helicopter to get in to some of the areas that they were unable to easily reach by land.
“On one tower we have a bucket truck, and on one tower we’re gonna fly the guys in and out [with the helicopter],”said Fields. “We’re hanging our boards with the helicopter, and anything the guys need, we’ll just fly it to them, instead of driving. It’s just too far.”
It also happened to be a scorching hot day, with temperatures in the triple digits, which presented an added challenge.
“It’s 104 [degrees] out here, so we’ve got lots of Gatorade and water for the guys,” said Fields. “And we have air conditioners on our truck if they need to get cooled off.”