Electric Utilities & Safety Culture in an Aging Workforce

Electrical power-line installers and repairers regularly appear on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of the top ten most dangerous jobs. According to the Fallen Linemen Organization an average of 45 linemen a year lose their lives on the job in the U.S. alone. This is despite a workforce that is predominantly made up of seasoned professionals. But it looks like there may be a big shift in demographics in the near future – how this will affect safety in the industry remains to be seen.

Long-Time Utility Workers Nearing Retirement

West Penn Power stands as an excellent example of the challenge currently facing the electric utility industry. At West Penn – one of FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania utilities – the median age of a line worker is 45. According to the company, in the next five years 30% of the utility’s distribution line workers will be eligible for retirement. And … Read more...

EPA Delays Emissions Rules as Energy Companies Prepare for a Tumultuous Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it will delay releasing the final rules for new power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. The rules are now scheduled to be released sometime this summer.

The EPA’s 2015 Plan for the Carbon Emissions Rules
The rules for new power plants were expected to be released on January 8, 2015, but the EPA held a press conference on the 7th to announce that they would instead be releasing both sets of rules for new and existing power plants at the same time. “We believe it’s essential to consider these overlapping issues in a coordinated fashion,” said Janet McCabe, the EPA’s acting administrator for air quality.

The EPA will take this time to further review the feedback gathered during the comment period, having received more than 4 million public comments. McCabe also announced that the EPA will begin drafting a “model rule” … Read more...