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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Bucket trucks keep OPPD lineworkers on the move

December 12, 2023 | Jason Kuiper | how does that work, T&D
T&D_Bucket truck infographic 2023 truck 3

OPPD’s line technicians rely on their bucket trucks. Those white and orange trucks aren’t just visible symbols representing reliable and affordable power, they carry the tools of the line tech’s trade.

Bucket trucks are versatile. They are powerful enough to handle off road terrain and rough conditions. Their hydraulic cranes  lift line techs high to repair power lines.

OPPD’s longest-tenured lineman, Steve Neuverth, says all his career memories are in his truck.

A bucket truck holds a wide variety of gear used by OPPD's line technicians.
A bucket truck holds a wide variety of gear, including tool belts, shown here in one of the truck’s compartments. Photo by Jason Kuiper

Neuverth was happy to show off what he hauls around daily as a working line crew leader.

He opened the first compartment and showed a small hook knife that’s used to slit cable jacket and scrape and remove insulation from wires.

“It resembles a carpet layer’s knife; we’ve always used them,” Neuverth said. “We have been using these since I started the job in 1986.”

Nearly everything that OPPD’s line technicians need to do their jobs is in their trucks, which serve as mobile warehouses. Compartments on both sides of the trucks also hold the 50-pound utility belts linemen wear, along with their climbing gear. Also on board is safety equipment, including rubber gloves and sleeves, traffic safety cones, and fire extinguishers.

Small drawers hold repair splices, used to hold two pieces of wire together; overhead and underground secondary connections; and other necessities. Tools like hydraulic cable cutters and ropes to pass heavier equipment up the pole go in the larger compartments.

The infographic below highlights just a few of the many fuses, wrenches and electric drills OPPD’s line techs use daily.

T&D_Bucket truck tools infographic 2023 FINAL

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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

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