FPU Student Utility Board Learns about Electricity

Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) Student Utility Board (SUB) met on Sept. 12 to learn about how electricity is distributed, maintained and repaired. They also learned how each department relies on the other to keep power flowing through our community. 

Lewis Steelman, Electric Operations Superintendent along with Mike Buntley, Electric Operations Superintendent Trainee, and Lee Smith, Utility Safety Coordinator, gave the students a demonstration of several important electrical safety measures with the use of FPU’s safety trailer. 

With the use of the safety trailer Steelman, Buntley and Smith demonstrated what can happen if a ladder, lineman or other person touches a live overhead wire. Students were also shown the importance of safety in the event of an automobile coming into contact with a downed electrical line and what can happen if someone interferes with a meter, hits underground electrical utilities while digging or misuses a generator.

“Safety is our number one priority at FPU,” CEO/General Manager Britt Dye told the students. “It’s important for each of you to see the dangers that you and our lineman can face by not putting safety first.” 

The students also received a first-hand look at the tools and equipment lineworkers use for building and maintaining electric lines. They learned how the dangers of the job have changed over the years and about the new equipment that helps keep linemen safe. Several of the youth board members even tried on safety gloves and attempted to assemble a kearney — a simple task for any veteran lineman, but difficult for a newcomer. 

“I was very impressed with how much time goes into training lineman to do their jobs safely,” said SUB member Alyssa Hampton. 

Student Utility Board members rounded out the day with a tour of the Hamilton Substation and switch house. There Ron Thomas, Supervisor Substation Metering, explained how electricity is delivered from TVA and distributed throughout the community. 

“I learned so much about how FPU provides power to homes and businesses and how they always put safety first,” said SUB member Clayton Ashley. 

      At FPU’s Student Utility Board’s October meeting, the students will tour the FPU Wastewater Treatment Plant.