10 Country: Brian's Nervous Experience - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Brian's Nervous Experience

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May 15, 2007    

Tift Co. -- Many people do the same job day after day, but once in a great while, the job gives them an extraordinary experience. A veteran power company lineman did something he had never done before a hundred feet in the air.

It would suit many people for their workday to zip by, ending as quickly as it started. "Getting ready to go to work," says Brian Key, a lineman with Georgia Power, who has second thoughts about this workday.

He knows that it won't be like the others he's had for the past 22 years. "I'm a little nervous," says Brian as his co-workers organize special ropes.

Why would an experienced lineman and crew leader for Georgia Power feel nervous?  "This is my first time," says Brian. He must do what only a few people do-  work on a high voltage power line wearing a protective suit made of 25% stainless steel on a power distribution line so important the power company can't turn it off without disrupting too many industries and homes.

The repair must go on. "Going up to change some insulators using the bare hand method," says Brian. No highly insulated tools to work with, just Brian's bare hands. A yearly training class held a hundred feet in the air with experts up top to teach him how to safely maintain an ultra-high voltage power line.

He gets comfort knowing his instructor stands a few feet away to help him. "I'll bond on a 500 KV line," says Brian.  An electrical connection between his special full-body suit and the 500,000 volt line.  "I'll be just like a bird sitting on a wire," says Brian.  

Training so dangerous that only his co-workers knew he had time had come.  Some things are better kept to yourself. "No need to worry the household," says Brian.

Other linemen echoed his thoughts.  But there he was literally sitting on a 500,000 volt power line, learning how to change insulators---  that weigh 200 pounds- should they ever need replacing.

After more than 10 minutes on the high wire, Brian's experience, that he felt nervous about, came to an end. "I wouldn't hesitate to do it again," says Brian shortly after touching the ground after his special trip skyward.

He had a day at the office that, in the end, suits him just fine.             

Brian and two other linemen got their ultra-high voltage training, working on the power line that carried half a million volts.

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