Kaimahi Waea Kawe Kōrero
Line mechanics install, repair and maintain overhead and underground power lines.
Line mechanics with up to five years’ experience usually earn
$47K-$60K per year
Line mechanics with five or more years' experience usually earn
$60K-$100K per year
Source: Connexis and Hard Hat Recruits, 2020.
Pay for line mechanics varies depending on skills and experience.
- Line mechanics with up to five years' experience usually earn between minimum wage and $60,000 a year.
- Senior line mechanics with five or more years' experience usually earn $60,000 to $80,000.
- Line mechanics in team leader roles can earn up to $100,000.
Sources: Connexis and Hard Hat Recruits, 2020.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Line mechanics may do some or all of the following:
- erect or replace power poles
- string cables between poles, pylons and buildings
- install underground cabling
- test lines and circuits
- locate and repair faults
- repair and replace cables
- install electricity transformers
- connect equipment to an electric network
- maintain street lights.
Skills and knowledge
Line mechanics need to have:
- knowledge of how electricity works, and the systems used in electrical networks
- technical and practical skills, including the ability to use and care for their equipment
- understanding of industry safety regulations
- the ability to read plans and maps
- first aid skills, including how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- usually work regular business hours, but may be required to work longer hours, including early mornings and evenings, and be on call or do shift work
- work indoors or outdoors
- work in most weather conditions, including rain and snow, and may work at heights
- may travel locally for work.
What's the job really like?
Line mechanic video
Jason Toatoa talks about life as a line mechanic – 2.18 mins.
I work on power lines that run above you in streets and all over the road.
There's also lines under the ground that you can't see,
but we work on those as well. A line mechanic does everything from upgrading
existing lines, working in fault conditions,
and making sure people's power is on right to operating a range of different
plant and machinery. I get into the yard at 7 and I'll make sure my gear is
all ready to go, check my schedule, plan out my day,
and then get stuck into it. So what's going on here is that we've got a man in a
bucket, which is called the mobile elevated work platform.
These guys want to take all these lines off the pole,
and then once they're all off, they can then pluck the pole out,
stand the new pole up,
and put everything back the way it was. Everything needs to be upgraded because
the area is being developed. We're getting more houses,
more people are staying here,
and more people are using the power. It is a high risk job,
but only if you don't have the right safety precautions in place.
I'm putting on a harness.
This is a part of my safety equipment that I have to use when operating the MEWP.
In case I fall from the bucket,
this will stop me. So what you're seeing up there is that we have earthed the
conductors overhead to ground. It's a safety precaution that we've done.
There's no more electricity running through the conductors. I started as a civil
worker. A year later I got offered my line mechanic apprenticeship.
The great thing about having an apprenticeship is that I'm learning while I'm
I don't have to worry about a massive debt that I might have to come out with.
That line mechanic apprenticeship took 2 and a half years.
Now I am fully qualified. The most challenging thing I found starting as a line
mechanic was getting up early.
Normal day-to-day hours are from 7.30 to 4 o'clock,
but in storm conditions, they can vary - 10 to 15 hour days.
My favorite part about my job is that I'm out in the fresh air all the time
constantly, and I'm operating various amounts of massive machinery.
To become a line mechanic you need to complete a New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply – Introductory (Level 2), and one of the following qualifications:
- New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply – Line Mechanic Distribution (Level 4).
- New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply – Transmission Line Maintenance (Level 4).
These qualifications usually take two years to complete and are done through on-the-job training and course work. Once completed, line mechanics need to apply for registration with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.
Most employers require you to have a driver's licence or a heavy vehicle licence if you need to drive a truck.
- Connexis website - line mechanic and other energy qualifications
- New Zealand Transport Agency website - heavy vehicle licences
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a line worker. However, maths and construction and mechanical technologies to at least NCEA Level 2 are useful.
Additional requirements for specialist roles:
Most people train first as a line mechanic and then gain additional qualifications in cable jointing. However, you can also train to become a cable jointer first.
Cable jointers need to have a New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply – Cable Jointer High Voltage, with an optional strand of up to 33KV (Level 4).
Cable jointers also need to register with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.
Line mechanics need to be:
- able to work well in a team and on their own
- able to work well under pressure
- able to follow instructions.
Useful experience for line mechanics includes:
- electrical industries work
- work involving physical labour
- work using hand tools.
Line mechanics need to:
- have normal colour vision to distinguish between different circuits and cables
- have steady hands
- be comfortable working in confined spaces or at heights.
Line mechanics and cable jointers must be registered with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.
Find out more about training
- 0800 486 626 - email@example.com - connexis.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Shortage of line mechanics in New Zealand
Demand for line mechanics is strong due to a shortage of:
- workers to help with ongoing growth and maintenance of the national power grid
- people training as cable jointers.
As a result, electric line mechanic, electrical linesworker, cabler, and telecommunications cable jointer all appear on Immigration New Zealand's construction and infrastructure skill shortage list. Electric line mechanic and electrical linesworker also appear on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled line mechanics from overseas to work in New Zealand.
According to the Census, 2,778 line mechanics and cable jointers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Most line mechanics work for electricity supply companies
Most line mechanics work for New Zealand's 18 electricity line supply companies.
- Fournier, C, recruitment manager, Hard Hat Recruits, careers.govt.nz interview, June 2020.
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Regional Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Scott, T, marketing manager, Connexis, careers.govt.nz interview, June 2020.
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Line mechanics may move into team leader or managerial roles.
Line mechanics may specialise in the role of:
- Cable Jointer
- Cable jointers install and join high-voltage power lines.
Last updated 8 June 2023