Red caution tape cordons off the sidewalk where Eric Wright and his crew are working on electrical wires.
Some crew members dig into the ground with shovels. One starts to climb up the wooden electrical pole to detach a rope at the top as Wright looks on.
“Sometimes we’re setting up poles, sometimes we’re stringing in wire,” said Wright, an electrical line foreman at PG&E. “A little bit of everything to basically keep the lights on.”
His crew works in Oakland and services the area from the Berkeley borderline to San Leandro. They’ve dealt with everything from cars that hit electrical poles to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.
Wright’s career started when he was still in school, when he worked with PG&E as a summer employee. Afterward, he became a permanent hire.
Even after 28 years on the job, Wright isn’t ready to throw in the towel. “I’m not looking at retirement just yet,” he said, with a smile as he and his crew continued to work.
Picking up last year’s Oakland at work series, this video is the third of four that will document workers who physically keep the city running. Next week, we’ll meet a teacher working in the Oakland Unified School District.