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Author Topic: End of outages as we know has begun . . .  (Read 67946 times)

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Content1

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End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« on: May 01, 2009, 04:27 »
I had one outage last fall at Millstone, and then I went to North Anna for less than  3 weeks, then to Surry for 2 WEEKS as a Senior Tech.  I made less money in the last 6 months than I have in my ENTIRE career.   They are making outages so short WE cannot survive unless something changes.  I have applied for DOE job, but I feel betrayed by the utilities who have so little consideration for the supplemental workers who make it possible.   Is anyone else hurting?

Offline SloGlo

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2009, 04:40 »
I had one outage last fall at Millstone, and then I went to North Anna for less than  3 weeks, then to Surry for 2 WEEKS as a Senior Tech.  I made less money in the last 6 months than I have in my ENTIRE career.   They are making outages so short WE cannot survive unless something changes.  I have applied for DOE job, but I feel betrayed by the utilities who have so little consideration for the supplemental workers who make it possible.   Is anyone else hurting?
eye maid less inna lass 6 months than i have in my entire career two!
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Offline Dave Warren

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2009, 05:34 »
I started here at Perry doing planning on May 27th, 2008. The outage started on February 23, 2009. Guess what? We still haven't synched to the grid. May 7th is synch day. It doesn't take Marssim to calculate that I have been here almost a year. Find you a plant that has issues and needs turned around and you will find something more than 2 or 3 weeks of work.

I won't tell you what I made but I'm putting in a inground pool this month...

Fermi2

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2009, 06:08 »
I had one outage last fall at Millstone, and then I went to North Anna for less than  3 weeks, then to Surry for 2 WEEKS as a Senior Tech.  I made less money in the last 6 months than I have in my ENTIRE career.   They are making outages so short WE cannot survive unless something changes.  I have applied for DOE job, but I feel betrayed by the utilities who have so little consideration for the supplemental workers who make it possible.   Is anyone else hurting?

Wait, a utility, an entity who's primary purpose is to make money for shareholders is supposed to extend their outages out of courtesy to YOU?
If you're that hard up, GO HOUSE!

Offline roadhp

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2009, 06:23 »
It's gonna get even worse with the new rules coming down the pike.  Although I read it differently, most of the house people are saying outages will comply with the hours restrictions, even for the contractors, so say goodbye to 72's or 84's. Hope they up the pay...nevermind   :o
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Fermi2

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2009, 06:44 »
then I would be hard up, you guys don't pay rad pro squat,... :P

Yeah but you're not complaining.
I just got offered 1000/week Per diem to instruct.

Offline HydroDave63

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2009, 07:13 »
Yeah but you're not complaining.
I just got offered 1000/week Per diem to instruct.

rubbing a little Po-210 in the wound? ;)

Offline namlive

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2009, 08:40 »
Money-wise I have done better off the road than I did in the 1990's. And I have a pension plan with a semi-decent health care plan that Bruce doesn't charge me arm and a leg for.

The good news is that every outage season they are short technicians and need people. The bad news is that you are going to have to learn to speak Spanish or Swedish to understand your fellow road techs. An HP now needs CORE certification and HAZWHOPPER to get by.
No one gets out alive.

johnnyreb

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2009, 06:09 »
 It was  decades of the fat times where many without the intelligence and talent to make decent money made it. It truely is a wonder how few have anything to show from this "gift horse". Complain all you want the golden days are over hopefully you had the forethought to put something aside.

Offline Camella Black

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2009, 10:06 »
It was  decades of the fat times where many without the intelligence and talent to make decent money made it. It truely is a wonder how few have anything to show from this "gift horse". Complain all you want the golden days are over hopefully you had the forethought to put something aside.

Sounds like sour grapes to me. Sorry but I don't agree with the intelligence or talent part of your statement. Sadly this type of attitude is worse to me than the short outages; we (those that traveled the roads in the good ole days) took care of own, stood proudly with family, yes family I I'm proud to call them that) and did our jobs when asked.

As far as saving what we earned; at times it was tough to do, especially when we paid 800 - 900 per month rent (1981 - 86) and often or not lost deposits, had to rent furniture, etc, etc. I for one would glady trade the attitude and money saved for the friends that I've lost or lost contact with through the years.

It was a good ride and I miss it. Here's a shout out to all my old buddies, anyone remember the theme song for the International botherhood of luders or gathering together at Black's Point singing Stand by me?  ;)

atomicarcheologist

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2009, 03:05 »
If one wants to do outages exclusively, how many is realistic per year?  What is the average duration per routine outage?  Are 72s still the norm?  Is $25/hr the going rate for a Senior HP?

Offline Lorrie Henson

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2009, 10:56 »
I would say 5-6 outages per year would be realistic.  The duration for a normal refueling outage is 3-6 weeks, depending on the site.  Currently, 72s are the norm, but not sure how we will be affected with the new Tech Spec on the horizon.  Again, depending on the site and the contracting company, a Sr. HP with +7 yrs experience is getting $23-28 per hour.

Jr8black3

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2009, 04:10 »
LOL I'm getting old enough one outage about kills me.. Kudos to all that can do more..^5..

^5 to all the guys and gals that worked the Fermi outage,, they all did an awesome job.

Thanks

vikingfan

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2009, 06:19 »
LOL kevin your not that old maybe broke down and ready for pasture huh ? anyhow just did 4 outages this spring :) my company we work 7 10's which is nice keeps us under the magical number i guess. but i love em ! i usually do about 6-7 outages a year.

Content1

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2009, 03:27 »
Wait, a utility, an entity who's primary purpose is to make money for shareholders is supposed to extend their outages out of courtesy to YOU?
If you're that hard up, GO HOUSE!

In my case, I did go house and just accepted a long term Senior job (no per diem) at a little under $35 hour.  If you sit and calculate that it is nearly the same net as working $25/hr plus diem minus you room and food expenses on a weekly basis, so for me it is solved.   But that doesn't answer the original question on who can afford to work for 5 or so weeks total in the fall and a similar amount in the spring.  I grossed taxable last year @ $38,000 accepting all that Bartlett had to offer.  I might as well be a teacher again if not for the fact in many areas, Like California, they are laying them off.

Now if I loved outages so much, I could take a 2 week vacation from my permanent job and go to an excelon plant for a short outage to do both.  If I did, someone would report me to the Psychologist for aberrant behavior.   So I am effectively off the outage grid now.   Multiply me by the hundreds who are fleeing to the DOE, and I see big problems in the Fall.    Yes, from a business standpoint, it is good if they only need us 2 weeks; yet, it requires a new kind of worker who only does outages part time, kind of like the national guard when the had 2 week warriors and a different job the rest of the year.   Will Seniors evolve into this kind of job situation?  Will their permanent employers cooperate?

That is what I meant by saying outages are ending as a full-time carrier.  The outage Senior shoould be put on the endangered species list.

Offline Already Gone

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2009, 10:40 »
You know, that's not a bad idea.  Take a few weeks off from a house job to work outages.

Unfortunately, they already do this.  It's called shared-resources.  It is also a lot more expensive than hiring contractors.  Look at the math.

Let's say a "fleet" has 10 plants.
Each plant has 22 house techs.
When one plant has an outage, each of the others sends 2 techs.

So, the plant in outage has 40 house techs, while all the others have 20.

But, in the summer, you have 22 house techs at each of 10 plants, which only need 20 to operate.  That is a total of 20 house techs more than you need.  Sure, during outage season, everybody is staffed right up, but outage season, even with 10 plants, is less than half of the year.  Even if they coordinated their schedule so that only one plant was in outage at a time, they could pull it off in under 20 weeks considering that not every plant has an outage every year.

What do you do with the extra 20 techs for the other 32 weeks?  You can train them.  You can rotate them all through vacations.  You can do lots of things.  But the bottom line is that they will all be sitting on payroll as extra bodies. 32 weeks x 40 hrs x 20 techs x $40/hr (incl. benefits) = $1,024,000.00, which doesn't include their travel expenses, office space, PPE, and all the other expense of carrying 20 unnecessary employees for nearly half the year.

The other option is to put only 20 techs at each plant, and leave them short-handed whenever another plant is in outage.  That comes out to more money, because they will basically be 2 people short for at least 15 weeks each year.  The overtime they will have to pay for that would be 15 weeks x 40 hours/week x $60/hr x 2techs per plant x 9 plants = $648,000.00.

If neither case is 100% true, then figure the average is $836,000 per year in payroll costs alone.  Add another $300,000.00 in travel and living costs.  So, you are up to a $1,136,000 just to have all your outages staffed by a mere 40 techs.  That's 20 per shift TOTAL.  And I still haven't added in the money they get paid when they are actually working those outages. 

That amounts to $9480 to $13240 per tech per outage ON TOP of the wages that you would have to pay them for the outage itself.  Considering that they are mostly union members, at $40/hr their weekly package is worth about $5,000.00 each.

Final cost per week, per tech, to have an outage = $8160 to $9413

OR

I can get Bartlett to pay each Sr. RP tech $30.00/hr and $125 per diem.  Even at 100% markup that comes out to $6155 per week.  I save two grand per tech x 20 techs x 20 weeks = $400,000.00 in cost savings.  My boss will love me, I'll get a little bonus that I'll use for that second honeymoon and have a little left for hair plugs .... (I'm just dreaming now.) 

But you can work all 20 of those weeks and maybe catch an outage at the end with some other "fleet".  You'll get 20+ weeks of work, lots of OT.  Make about $50k plus another 12 - 15k in unemployment.  Not too shabby for only working half a year and getting all your summers off.

With DOE slurping up all the current road techs, one or the other of the above will have to happen for nuclear power plants to have the RP support they need for outage season.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 09:23 by BeerCourt »
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Content1

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2009, 07:51 »
I got a job at a fusion research lab.  I not part of any shared resource in my case.  So if I came to an outage (Not likely), it costs them nothing off season for my services.   

It is true what you said, that if they have more techs then needed during the off season, that adds costs above what the outage techs costs, it defeats the whole reason why they hired road techs in the first place.   Keep minimal staff when not in an outage, get the supplementals for an outage.  It all works until outages are so short you can make enough as a supplemental worker.  So many are off to the DOE or even to other industries and may never come back. 

They have apprentice HP college courses like at duke who are taking the Jr. spots in the fall, further displacing the road techs.  It is known that, for example, of 12 apprentices, 10 ended as house tech somehwere, hardly building the supply of future Senior HP's.

This is a system of supply and demand will come into play.  I am not saying to have the attitude, "They get what they deserve."  Somehow, they  need to spread out the outages so you get 3 or 4 2 weeks jobs to make it worth your while to stay a road tech, something the jobsites must want to do or it won't happen.  Bartlett and Atlantic don't have the power to demand this, they offer what is available.  We may have to change to doing this job part time.

vikingfan

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2009, 08:18 »
we may have to change to doing this job part time.

here i thought working 6 months a year was part time ?

Content1

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2009, 09:43 »
when you work only 4 months, except for the special unemployment extentions, you live unpaid for 2  months as I did last year.  I cannot afford months of -0- income, so I got a long term job, i.e. full-time.  If you receive money year round, even if from unemployment, it feels like full-time for this reason, and do the math: 50 weeks full-time= 2000 hrs.  26 weeks x 72= 1872 hrs. plus our travel to and from our homes to our jobs = ~2000 hrs.

what has happened is 18 wks * 72 = 1296 hrs., (4 months) by anyone's definition: Part time.  Even worse, we get per diem we squeeze every extra penny to add to our income.  With 2 months missing, the situation is even worse.




















Offline Smart People

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2009, 09:21 »
new development from the stimulus money is that now INL is paying $80/day straight perdiem, no receipts, and about $31/hr. Talk to Marcom, Bartlett or EG&G. (my Favorite is Marcom). Stimulus money is going everywhere in DOE. All the sites are starting to beg for techs.
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Offline Already Gone

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2009, 09:32 »
I like your first idea.  In fact, I have seen it done.  There was one fellow who used his vacation from Indian Point to work outages at Salem/Hope Creek.  He would even go back to IP and work there on his day off from SHC so he wouldn't burn a vacation day for nothing.  He managed to get three consecutive outages that way - maybe more, but I stopped going there, so I don't know.

If you like where you are, stay there.  The roadie life is great for some people - mostly retirees or couples who work together.  But, a lone RP who is trying to support a family isn't going to make his living tht way anymore unless the money picks up.

No, they will not reschedule their outages around personnel availability.  That thing makes money when it is spinning, and the only supply/demand curve they care about is the one that comes out the other end.

Yes, they will make up for the shortages by working the folks who remain harder, by cutting out positions or filling them in other ways.  Those apprentice programs, and community college courses will supply them with enough new people to fill the chairs at access.
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Offline rocknrollrick

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2009, 01:00 »
OK I agree with alot that has been posted. If you take the average age of the Road Tech is 56 and the DOE is kicking back in there will be a shortage this fall. :o The days of sitting around the breakroom have been gone for a while.

To staff, plants are now looking at new style incentives to bring techs in to a site. All utilities are feeling the crunch to get quality techs. I feel and have heard that utilities know they will have to change the outage line ups to staff. The system is slowly breaking with no quick fix in sight. Wait until the utilities start to hire for the new units that will be coming on line. ;D 
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Karen Bargiel

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2009, 01:21 »
I JUST LOVE HAVING MY SUMMERS OFF

Content1

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2009, 08:38 »
I will miss the non-taxable nature of per diem.  I was able to average room costs of $30/night + $10/day for food, and get non-taxable per diem of $95/day, netting $55/day or $1500/m x 6 or $9000/year, plus $15,000/Ma unemployment, for a total unearned income of $21,000.  That was nice supplement to income.  Although  by going long term making over $72k gross/year, between Obama and Swartzenegger, they confiscate 25% federal + 10% CA + 9% fica/medicare for a total of 44% going to the government unless I find legal loopholes, which I have.  Taxation without representation was bad; taxation with representation that sucks us clean is not so hot.   Can we get King George to takes us back?

Offline namlive

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2009, 05:39 »
In the 90's I saw the hand writing on the wall with the utilities getting their "stuff" together and doing short outages. Everyone had it together except for Peach Bottom and Com-Ed. Since I had burned a bridge at Peach Bottom, Illinois was getting to be very ugly. I would sometimes bring my own tree from home. I took a course and got a certificate to do NDE work. I was going to start as a "junior" in that profession since I could do the non-nuclear stuff. But as fate would have it I landed at a DOE site who never heard of me and I was able to BS my way in as a house tech, by claiming TMI experience. This Marxist now has time to play the stock market. I like a company whose symbols are DPM. (I bought at $12.00.)
No one gets out alive.

 


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