A Nova Scotia Power lineman is leaving his job because he thinks the company plans to outsource his position.

Duane Shay is one of the crew who repairs downed lines during storms, among other tasks. But he no longer feels secure with the utility.

“They can't go after the customers anymore because they've squeezed everything they can out of them. So they're coming after us,” he said.

He said he is frustrated to be leaving his home province, but after 12 years at Nova Scotia Power and its parent company Emera, he feels he has no choice.

"It's almost like they have a gun to your head threatening you of the possibility of layoffs,” he said.

Utility ordered to save $27.5M

The company is looking at contracting out his job and that of hundreds of other employees to save money. The company eliminated 80 positions last year as part of a two-year plan approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board requiring it to find savings of $27.5 million.

The company said the outsourcing initiative is separate from the Rate Stabilization Plan, although it acknowledged the outsourcing is part of an effort to control costs. 

Nova Scotia Federation of Labour has said up to 250 union jobs could be lost

Shay says he, his wife and their three-year-old daughter can't live with that uncertainty. 

'Job security is everything'

“Job security is everything. I don't want to have to worry about coming in every day wondering whether or not you have a job,” he said.

Shay is taking a power company job in Calgary.

Duane Shay is taking his family west

Duane Shay. (CBC)

Enmax, an Alberta power company, is recruiting in Halifax for four days at the end of February.

"I know of at least four or five other guys right now that I know are just waiting to be given the offer and they're leaving,” Shay said. “I know there's a lot more other guys."

Shay said he knows of at least a dozen other linesmen who have already packed up and gone, but Nova Scotia Power will only say it has lost a handful.