April is National Thank a Lineman month culminating in National Lineman Appreciation Day on April 18th. Without a doubt, linemen aren’t just critical to ensuring the integrity of the grid. They’re vital!
The job of a lineman is one wrought with danger every day, whether it’s restoring a downed power line after a hurricane or an ice storm, or just doing what’s needed to make sure we all have access to reliable power. Now, more than ever, the Covid-19 pandemic puts a spotlight on their hard, dangerous, and often unseen work.
From Nome, Alaska to Key West, Florida, there are around 115,000 linemen on the job — playing an indispensable role in maintaining the flow of affordable and reliable power to our homes and businesses. Heading out into the often-harsh elements, they haul up to 30 pounds of gear to complete their arduous, but vital tasks. While the Covid-19 pandemic has forced most of us to shelter in place — as essential employees, linemen are still on the job — adapting, as they always do, to keep the lights on during these unprecedented times.
As we’ve written recently, power companies have procedures in place to ensure Americans have access to reliable electricity, even during a pandemic. The lineman plays a critical role in implementing these procedures. Nothing expresses this sentiment better than a letter to the editor of the Gainsville Times from Frank Frederick of Gainesville, Georgia “We all tend to take our electric service for granted and expect all things to work every time we throw a switch…The work these folks do in rain, snow, darkness, extreme cold and heat, and other accidental events is amazing and unfortunately very few folks outside their co-workers and family know the extreme physical difficulty and skills needed to be a lineman.”
Now on top of the everyday difficulty of performing their rigorous jobs, linemen must perform these crucial tasks with the added burden of conforming to strict social distancing and hygiene standards. And once again our linemen have risen to the challenge. Or, as Pedro Cherry with Georgia Power aptly notes…”Now more than ever, our teammates are rising above the challenges we face and showing their dedication to work as safely as possible to keep the lights on for our 2.6 million customers across Georgia…We are proud to thank them and show our appreciation for the critical work they do not only this month, but throughout the year.”
The Covid-19 pandemic sheds new light on the invaluable role of the lineman. More importantly, it spotlights what they do every day to ensure that we all have access to affordable and reliable power.
If you’d like to say “thank you,” you can do so by using the hashtag #ThankALineman on social media.