Celebrating Lineworker Appreciation Day

DEC lineworkers are committed to keeping the lights on.

 You’ve likely noticed DEC crews out and about, working on power lines and other electrical equipment in our community. It’s no secret that a lineworker’s job is tough –– but it’s a job that is essential and must be done, often in challenging conditions. This month, as we celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 11, we thought we’d share some interesting facts about electric lineworkers with you.
   The work can be heavy, in more ways than one. Did you know the equipment and tools that a lineworker carries while climbing a utility pole can weigh up to 50 pounds? That’s the same as carrying six gallons of water! Speaking of utility poles — lineworkers are required to climb poles ranging anywhere from 30 to 120 feet tall. Needless to say, if you have a fear of heights, this likely isn’t the career path for you.
   Lineworkers must be committed to their career, because it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. The long hours and ever-present danger can truly take a toll. In fact, being a lineworker is listed as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States. Lineworkers often work non-traditional hours, outdoors and in difficult conditions.
   While the job does not require a college degree, it does require technical skills, years of training and hands-on learning. To become a journeyman lineworker it can take more than 7,000 hours of training (or about four years). Working with high-voltage equipment requires specialized skills, experience and ongoing mental toughness. Shortcuts are not an option, and there is no room for error in this line of work. 
   Despite the challenges, our Co-op’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local community. During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called. They must be ready to leave the comfort of their home and families unexpectedly, and they don’t return until the job is done — often days later. That’s why the lineworker’s family is also dedicated to service, and we appreciate them as well. They understand the importance of the job to the community.
   Nationwide, there are approximately 120,000 electric lineworkers. Here at DEC, about 50 lineworkers are responsible for keeping the power flowing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To do this, they maintain 7,000 miles of power lines across two counties. In addition to the visible tasks lineworkers perform, their job today goes far beyond climbing utility poles to repair a wire. Today’s lineworkers are information experts who can pinpoint power outages from miles away. Line crews now use laptops, tablets, drones and other technologies to map outages, survey damage and troubleshoot problems.
   Being a lineworker is a tough job, but it is absolutely essential to the life of our community. So, the next time you see a lineworker, please thank them for the work they do! Please join us as we recognize them this month, and follow “#ThankALineworker” on social media to see how others are recognizing lineworkers.