When the weather is extreme, we are reminded in this industry why linemen earn every penny of their wages. This is most obvious when we experience our never popular, but inevitable, winter ice storms. These storms usually affect a lot of people; they cause power outages when it is cold outside, and they are usually big news stories in the local media. Everyone is then thankful those loyal linemen from the cooperative are out there doing their job to restore power as soon as possible. We are especially appreciative they do their job so well under such miserable conditions.
During the summer months, it is easy to forget about those same line workers and take them for granted. During the summer, we have weather-related outages, but they are usually less severe and don’t impact as many people at one time. In most cases, power is restored and there is no mention in the local media that anything happened.
While the work of the linemen may go unnoticed during the summer months, this may well be the time of the year when they are challenged the greatest and perform the best. We need to remember that our summers are short, and most of us cherish these days for personal recreation and relaxation. As few as these summer days are, for a lineman they are restricted further, as they need to be available for outage calls if and when they occur. Working outside during cold, blizzardy weather for long hours is certainly not enjoyable. However, working on power lines during extreme heat and humidity isn’t a walk in the park either.
During this past month, we have had an abundance of severe weather, which included high temperatures and high humidity. This is also the time of year we are pushing to complete as much of our summer construction as possible. Our line workers and other support people do a marvelous job working during the day to complete scheduled work orders. But then, following a hard day’s work, it is very possible they will be called back during the evening or during the night to restore power from an unexpected outage.
When the electricity in our homes goes out, you and I don’t expect any delays in getting it restored. It doesn’t matter if the lineman is relaxing in his back yard or playing with his children. We expect him to come and to come now. If it is hot and humid, and the mosquitoes are swarming, he doesn’t have the prerogative to leave this work until tomorrow. We expect him to keep working so the air conditioning will be turned back on in our house. If he has already put in a long day in the heat, that doesn’t matter either. We still need him to respond immediately and to get power restored to our home.
A lineman understands the needs of his friends, neighbors, and even relatives living in his service area. He is dedicated to providing good service to these people and will do so day in and day out. The next time you see him, why not thank him for a job well done. It won’t make these outages or the nasty weather go away, but it will make him feel better about doing his job.