Work outlook continues to be strong in both Northern California as well as Nevada, with no shortage of work just of manpower. All types of work, including distribution, transmission, fire hardening, system inspections, tags work and surge arrestors are being performed throughout the jurisdiction. The restoration work from the recent destructive fires is also keeping members busy, and we continue to see linemen from across the country showing up here for work.
We recently completed a commitment letter with LS Power to regarding the SWIP North Project, a 270 mile, 500kV that will go from Robinson Summit Substation near Ely, NV to Midpoint, ID, ensuring that this work will be built union and utilizing Local 1245’s agreement. We have also worked through a Project Addendum with Western Line NECA and IBEW 449 that will address all the issues associated with crossing jurisdictions that may come up. We also have commitment letters from LS Power for 2 voltage support projects in California, one of which is outside of the PG&E Gates Substation and the other 11 miles outside of Round Mountain. More on the SWIP North Project detailed below under Nevada work.
In July of this year, PG&E announced plans to underground 10,000 miles of overhead lines in the High Fire Threat Districts (HFTD), and has since sent out requests for information (RFI) across the country looking for ideas and technology to do this. This will be a huge task to complete, as much of the lines that are in these HFTD are in remote, mountainous, and difficult-to-access areas. We are working to find ways to address the manpower issues and qualifications for this work to be better prepared when more details become available.
Outside line dispatch has been busy the last three months with Inspector calls and other calls due to Rokstad being removed from PG&E property. As of September, we have had a total of 5,608 calls for 2021, with 2,913 of those being Journeyman Lineman calls. In comparison, in 2020 we had 5,470 total calls for the year, and 3,140 Journeyman Lineman calls for the year. A big thanks goes out to Dispatch team for consistently doing a great job helping our members.
Titan (Wyoming) has two crews working on the 4KV El Rancho project. It is slated to be completed by December. They also were awarded a three-year LED street light replacement contract in Reno, along with approximately 50 H structures to replace in the Ely area. They have some transmission poles to replace up Kingsbury grade that have been held up due to outage coordination with NV Energy. All the work listed is on NV Energy property.
Wasatch has transmission work in the Carson Valley that is being held up due to outage coordination with NV Energy as well. They do have an upcoming trip saver project to install on NV property that should take one crew two months to complete. They currently have four inspectors on property doing all the fire inspections. They started out in the eastern part of the state and the inspectors are now in the Reno area. NV is still using Wasatch to supplement line crews all over their property. Currently there are 12 dock hands spread throughout the property and 12 more sub techs supplementing the substation crews at NV as well. Wasatch recently got awarded the dock work up at Liberty as well. They currently have two crews and three dock hands on property.
Cache Valley is finishing up at 120KV Substation called Wildhorse out at USA parkway and received another bid for the Wassuk 120KV substation project, which is about half the size out in Yerington. This is a well-put-together crew. They will also be performing work on Mount Wheeler Power property.
Summit still has two crews working on a fire hardening project on Liberty property and are scheduled to complete this project by December.
TW has one crew working on a 400-pole replacement on Liberty property.
The Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) North project is the largest and final piece of the SWIP. It includes 275 miles of 500 kV transmission line in Idaho and Nevada and links PacifiCorp, Idaho Power and BPA to CAISO. This project is nearly construction-ready and could be online as early as June 2024. We anticipate this to go to bid later this year with a start date sometime in the second or third quarter of 2022. Of the 275 miles of line, 200 miles of it — or 75% of the line — will be in 1245’s jurisdiction and the remaining portion will be in Local 449 out of Pocatello, ID. We will be working with Local 449 and Western Line NECA — just as we did with Local 396 on phase one of this project — to put in place a Project Addendum which would utilize the 1245 agreement and make Local 1245 the dispatch point, due to majority of the line being in our jurisdiction.
New OSL Representative
Seventeen-year IBEW 1245 member Ben Contreras has joined the union staff as a Business Rep. Learn more about him here.
For the last two quarters we have seen a rise in accidents, and the third quarter has been no different. Over the last couple of months, we have seen four induction shocks on PG&E property on their transmission system. PG&E requires its contractors to follow the PG&E grounding manual. In all four accidents, the PG&E manual wasn’t followed. In some cases, there was a hybrid of both the California Red Book and PG&E manuals, and the hybrid approach caused confusion in the field. To be clear, if you are grounding transmission on PG&E property, you are to be following the PG&E grounding manual. There is a focus group made up of PG&E, contractor and IBEW representatives to try to remedy the confusion.
We have seen a number of line truck or bucket truck accidents were the driver shouldn’t have walked away, but did. These accidents were caused by sun in the eyes, falling asleep, and tires going off the edge of the road. We are also witnessing an uptick in dig-in incidents, so please be sure you gather the proper authorization before disturbing the soil for any reason.
Multiple contractors have been corrected for not issuing sleeves to groundmen. If ANYONE is handling the butt of a pole being set in energized primary, they must have gloves AND sleeves on. See Section 2.15 of Red Book for further clarification.
On a positive note, as we’ve acquired more stewards in the field, we have been able to answer and correct multiple violations of the contract or Red Book. The more we communicate about problems in field, the better conditions will be for everyone.
All the OSL Reps have been involved and Serious Incidents Fatality (SIF) investigations, which is taking up a significant amount of time. Many of the accidents and incidents mentioned here are resulting in these investigations.
Red Books and Contracts
All the Business Representatives continue to pass Red Books and contracts to each member they visit, which have amounted to several thousand books distributed.
Shop Steward Update
We are currently standing at 24 construction stewards for the outside line group. With the number of crews and work locations in our jurisdiction, we can use more stewards. If you would like to nominate yourself or another person for a steward role, please reach out to any of the OSL Business Reps.
LaborPower Mobile App
As a reminder, IBEW Local 1245 has a LaborPower app that can be downloaded to their mobile devices. Members can use the app to check their position on the books, update contact info, pay dues, etc. You can find it in the app store.
The Local 1245 examining committee continues to be extremely busy dealing with issues related to safety or other wrong-doings by workers in the local’s jurisdiction. This is not a good trend, and we as a membership must do better. The committee meets the third Tuesday of each month.
Cal Nev JATC
The Cal-Nev JATC Woodland Facility had a soft opening and began its first classes in April. The Grand Opening celebration is set for December 10, 2021.
We have finally finished all the interviews in September from the last apprentice application period. The JATC has taken an aggressive approach in bringing on new apprentices with a goal of bringing on close to 200 new apprentices by the end of October. There is no date scheduled for the next application period yet, but this will be discussed during the December trustee meeting.
Current apprentices report as of Oct. 5, 2021:
- 629 outside line apprentices registered in our JATC program
- 23 traveling apprentices in Cal Nev’s jurisdiction
- 174 Apprentices working out of local 1245
- 407 working out of 47 and 16 are working out of 396
- 6 unemployed, 22 not available to work for various reasons and 4 on leave
- 66 apprentices graduated to Journeyman Lineman since January 1, 2021
- 138 new apprentices indentured as outside line apprentices in 2021
We are sad to report that Kyle Saddler, who had taken the Assistant Director position last November, has decided to resign from that position and the search is on for his replacement. Kyle will remain in the position through the end of October, and we wish Brother Saddler well wherever he goes.
First Aid & CPR class is the second Saturday of every month at our Riverside and Woodland facilities.
Outside Line Construction Injured Workers Fund (IWF)
In the three months past, the Fund has paid out 32 claims. However, the Fund has received numerous other claims that are either pending because the required documentation was not received, or denied as the member did not meet the eligibility requirements.
As of September 28, the balance of the fund was $1,249,439.
You can now obtain Summary Plan Description and Application on the Union website under the “Outside Construction” tab.
When submitting an IWF application, please make sure to read ALL of the eligibility requirements and submit with the appropriate documentation. To request an IWF application please email IWF@ibew1245.com or text (707) 452-2720 with your name, email address or mailing address if you prefer to receive this document through the mail.
The following companies have signed an agreement with Local 1245 in the three months past:
- ACRE (Electrical Inspection agreement)
- Eppler Inc (Towing agreement)
- CalBurton (Electrical Inspection)
- Pacific Industrial Electric (CA OSL)
- C3M Power (Trolley)
- Leatherneck Construction (CA OSL)
- Hangtown Electric, Inc (CA OSL)
- Energy Experts International (CA OSL)