Bucket Trucks in the American Electric Utility Industry

Eleanor Hanson

Bucket trucks are the most commonly used vehicle by the linemen and technicians who build and maintain America’s electric power grid. Many people work on the grid. Among this group are electricians, linemen, other technicians, engineers, work supervisors and safety managers. Those people who install, maintain, repair, troubleshoot or work around power generation, transmission and distribution equipment often depend on bucket lift trucks to complete their work. With the majority of American electric lines located high up in the air, it is necessary to safely lift workers, and their tools, to these heights to complete their installation and maintenance work. Bucket trucks are some their most essential tools.

Bucket trucks and the consumer point of view

Bucket trucks provide one safe, convenient and efficient way to access the power grid. From a consumer standpoint, the safe access to electricity is necessary to our modern lives. Without electricity consumers would not have the conveniences of appliances, lights, and computers. Power lines are strung high in the air. The greater the amount of power they are transferring, the higher in the air power lines must be. Bucket trucks allow linemen to safely reach high, awkward and otherwise inaccessible places to maintain the power lines that light people’s homes, power their appliances, connect people to their loved ones and bring their favorite TV shows.

Bucket lift trucks and the electric grid

Bucket trucks are most commonly deployed for the daily, routine maintenance of the electrical grid. They are also used for bringing power to a newly built area. Linemen need bucket trucks to access to high places to make routine repairs, as well as to perform upgrades and improvements to aging power infrastructure.

• Bucket lift truck innovations make it possible for linemen to access power lines located more than 200 feet in the air

• Stabilizing technology allows bucket trucks to carry the aerial lifts that put technicians up at these stunning heights.

• Many transmission power lines are normally accessed by helicopter, which illustrates just how expensive and important the work of maintenance is to the power grid.

Bucket trucks are used to repair damage due to lightning strikes, fallen trees, or other objects that might be blown into power lines. In all of these circumstances, there is an obvious cause for service interruption. If you spend an hour in the car on an average day, it is likely that you might see two or three bucket lift trucks on the side of road, making a power line repair. After a thunderstorm, you’d likely see more. Bucket lift trucks are needed in large numbers after more serious weather events. This is because high winds can wipe out power for thousands of people at a time. During the hurricane season of 2017, storms like Irma, Harvey and Maria actually knocked out power for several million people. During emergencies and natural disasters, the power grid is one of the most vulnerable aspects of American infrastructure. This, despite it being essential to the American way of life. Every home in the United States needs power, and so does every business. Bucket lift trucks help to ensure that American electrical infrastructure is maintained and running as smoothly as possible.

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