LIGHTING THE WAY: Celebrating National Lineman Appreciation Day

No utility system is 100% fail-safe, and that’s especially true of power grids. When you consider the United States is powered by 9 million miles of electrical cable strung across 170 million poles, failures are inevitable.

When the lights go out, utility customers want power restored as soon as possible. That’s where you come in.

As a lineman, you’re part of an elite workforce of 115,000 men and women in the U.S. No matter when and where the need arises, you put your life – and often well-being – on the line. You rush into dangerous situations because you have a job to do. That’s why we proudly honor you on National Lineman Appreciation Day.

More than a job

Doing your job means more than just restoring consumers’ access to lights, refrigerators, heating and air systems, televisions, modems, routers, gaming systems, and computers. You’re also caring for the sick, injured, and dying when you think about how many health care facilities – and even home hospice care – can’t afford to lose power to their ventilators, infusion pumps, monitoring devices, and other medical equipment.

Serving others often puts you at risk. Whether on the ground or in a boom truck, you strap on heavy equipment and go to work in every element imaginable – blistering heat, cold rain, sleet, snow, wildfires, high winds, lightning, and dark of night. It’s incredibly dangerous. In fact, Business Insider ranked lineman 11th in its 2018 survey of the 34 most dangerous professions.

And yet, when tornadoes and hurricanes knock down poles and lines, your determination to restore power puts shell-shocked storm victims back on the road to normalcy. Turning on a light is a simple act we often take for granted, but after a traumatic storm, it can be comforting.

When duty calls

You’re not only dedicated to your home community, but you also provide aid to other areas through mutual assistance programs common among states and utility companies. Following significant weather events, you pack a bag, kiss your family goodbye, and leave home to help some faraway town get the lights back on.

More than 1,500 linemen from Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan traveled to North Carolina ahead of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. And 67,000 of you responded following Hurricane Sandy in November 2012.

Today, and every day, we should thank you for keeping the lights on, even when it’s sunny. Without your sacrifices and skills, we’d all be in the dark.


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