The Power Behind Your Power

Lineworker Appreciation Day Is April 18

By Anne Prince

Adobe Stock Photo by Ken Macune

You’ve likely noticed Lane Electric Cooperative’s crews out and about, working on power lines and other electrical equipment. It’s no secret that a lineworker’s job is tough—but it’s a job that’s essential and must be done, in challenging conditions. As we celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 18, I thought I’d share some interesting facts about electric lineworkers.

The work can be heavy in more ways than one. Did you know the equipment and tools a lineworker carries while climbing 30 to 120-foot-tall utility poles can weigh up to 50 pounds? 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 careers 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 1 of the most dangerous jobs in the United States.

Lineworkers often work nontraditional hours in difficult conditions. While the job does not require a college degree, it does require technical skills, years of training, and hands-on learning. Did you know becoming a journeyman lineworker can take more than 7,000 hours of training— over the course of about 4 years? That’s because working with high-voltage equipment requires specialized skills, experience, and an ongoing mental toughness. There is no room for error in this line of work.

Despite the many challenges, Lane Electric’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local communities. 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.

Nationwide, there are approximately 120,000 electric lineworkers. Here at Lane Electric, we have 16 trained lineworkers who are responsible for maintaining equipment and keeping power flowing 24/7, 365 days a year. In addition to the highly 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 may not seem like a glamorous job, but it is absolutely essential. Without the dedication and commitment of these hardworking men and women, we would not have the reliable electricity that we need for everyday life.

The next time you see a lineworker, thank them for their work to keep power flowing, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. After all, lineworkers are the power behind your power. Please join us as we recognize them on April 18, and follow #thankalineman on social media to see how others are recognizing lineworkers.