At DTE Energy, we know that flipping a switch does much more than turn on a light, it powers your home. Our employees, like Deon Counts, bring their best energy to work each day so they can help bring energy to our communities. For Deon, he knows his job is to (quite literally) bring power across our electrical system and into your home. Deon is a splicer specialist, which means he works 8 to 24 hour shifts throughout all times of the day and night to fix, maintain or install equipment that allows DTE to provide you with safe and reliable electricity.
“The efforts from DTE’s line workers, like Deon and all of his fellow splicer specialists, help us to not only restore power for our customers, but to prevent it from going out in the first place,” said Heather Rivard, vice president, Distribution Operations. “Their hard work is a key reason why DTE Energy has had its best overall reliability performance in eight years.”
What it takes
Deon came to DTE Energy over 17 years ago searching for a rewarding and exciting career. After his apprenticeship, he found himself climbing utility poles as an overhead line worker, servicing meters as an electric field operator service rep, controlling our electrical currents as a substation operator and now performing many different jobs as splicer specialist.
His diverse experience and skillsets within DTE Energy allows him to perform a variety of critical and highly skilled roles as a splicer. Splicers can be found atop utility poles, underground in manholes or right in your backyard working to keep our energy reliable, safe and on. However, because this position services so many different areas of our system, many people don’t understand the importance of what they do – they just simply flick on the lights. Deon says he’s ok with that, though. He believes that keeping the lights on is his job and his commitment to our customers.
“Our position is unique because we do a lot of things people don’t see,” said Deon. “It serves the company and the community differently, because we do such a variety of things. I could be on five to six jobs on any given day.”
It takes a team
While Deon will sometimes have to perform jobs alone, he often finds himself on site with a team of people – specialist leader, journeyman apprentices, or even other splicer specialist. Those we work with often feel like family to us and when it comes to a dangerous job, like handling electrical wire, it is important to know that you have a family who is putting themselves accountable for your safety as well.
“The number one thing on this job is safety,” said Deon. “Sometimes you have to slow down, focus and remove distractions. We have a saying around here, ‘Go home the same way you come to work,’ and we repeat it often.”
Deon also has family ties with the splicers he completed his apprenticeship program with, even though they don’t all work in the same location. He explained that through the four-year apprenticeship program, you tend to grow close bonds to the people you are training with each day.
“We always pushed each other,” said Deon. “And now and then, we’ll give each other a call just to check in and see how everything is going.”
Caring for our customers
While safety is always a number one priority at DTE Energy, so are our customers – and Deon is always thinking about the customers. Throughout his various roles at DTE Energy, Deon has learned a thing or two about talking to customers. He says that he’ll often stop to explain to a customer how the electrical system works, pointing to different pieces of equipment right in the customer’s back yard.
When it comes to restoration, Deon knows his job was successful because people will come out just to say thanks. Some customers have even offered Deon gifts like concert tickets, gaming tickets, money and more. He politely declines and reminds them that this is what he is here to do.
“I always tell them thank you but I can’t accept,” said Deon. “It is my job to make sure power is restored, it’s not like I am doing anything extra.”