Keeping the lights on with Freightliner® 114SD

Freightliner Trucks
Severe Duty Newsletter
Freightliner Digger
"The thing that I’ve really come to like the best about the trucks is their dependability. We’ve had very little downtime, and to us, that’s very important. They need to be going when we need them, and we need to be able to put them on the road and not worry about whether they’re going to get there or get back." — Chuck Dutton, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

PowerSouth Energy Cooperative is a generation and transmission cooperative that supplies bulk power to 20 different distribution members in its service area of Alabama and northwest Florida. It powers 16 electric cooperatives and four municipal electric systems that serve more than 1 million end-users. PowerSouth crews are under a lot of pressure to keep the lights on, and that pressure is compounded by an unpredictable industry.

“There’s nothing typical about the power company, honestly,” said Chris Houk, service technician, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative. “You never know when you’re going to be working, you never know when you’re going to be in these trucks. Day to day we have a schedule, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to keep it. If the power is out, we’re going to get it back on.”

PowerSouth relies on dependable trucks and equipment to maintain thousands of miles of electrical line. Its fleet of 54 vocational trucks includes service trucks, digger derricks, bucket trucks, and heavy-haul vehicles that assist with everyday service calls, outages, emergencies, and restoration.

“The main thing with our job is to keep the power on,” said lineman Cory Ryland. “A big part of that is a truck that cranks every time, and gets us to the job site in a timely manner so we can get the lights back on for everybody.”

PowerSouth currently has eight Freightliner® vocational trucks in its fleet including the M2 106 and M2 112, 108SD, 114SD and 122SD. Two of the 114SDs are upfitted with Digger Derrick bodies that are used for restoration work after-hours, on weekends, and during storm outages.

“A lot of times when we’re going to a callout we’ll have to haul 80- to 85-foot polls, and Freightliner really puts a lot of power in the truck,” said Houk. “You’re able to haul whatever you need to, to get to the job. And once you’re there, the steering provides a really tight turning radius, and you can really get into wherever you need to be.”

The 114SD features a steel-reinforced aluminum cab for maximum hauling capacity and a contoured hood slope for improved visibility on job sites. On top of the strength and maneuverability of the 114SD, its reliability makes it an excellent choice for the power industry.

“The thing that I’ve really come to like the best about the trucks is their dependability,” said Chuck Dutton, fleet maintenance supervisor. “We’ve had very little downtime, and to us, that’s very important. They need to be going when we need them, and we need to be able to put them on the road and not worry about whether they’re going to get there or get back.”

The limited downtime, along with extensive customization options and easy upfit, help to decrease the truck’s Real Cost of Ownership℠, helping companies like PowerSouth get the most bang for their buck.

“We’re very pleased with our Freightliner fleet at PowerSouth, and we definitely plan to add more Freightliner trucks to our vehicle fleet in the near future,” said Joe Armstrong, transmission operation and maintenance manager.