Today We Celebrate National Lineworker Appreciation Day
- July 10, 2019
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The following post was co-authored by Tom Kuhn & Lonnie Stephenson
Across the country, America’s electric companies are leading the transition to a clean energy future. We all rely on the delivery of safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean electricity to power our lives and economy, and today we gratefully acknowledge the nearly 75,000 men and women who make it happen.
While National Lineworker Appreciation Day is only one day out of the year, the reality is that we appreciate the work that these highly skilled workers do every day. It is often said that many Americans only notice their electrical service when they don’t have it, which is a testament to the overall high-level of reliability we have come to expect from our nation’s electric companies and the energy grid. When power does go out, lineworkers are the first to respond.
When they are not restoring outages, lineworkers are implementing the plans that the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) member companies – America’s investor owned electric companies – have to make the grid stronger, cleaner, smarter, more resilient, and more secure. Routine as it may appear, the work is complex and inherently dangerous, and these highly trained lineworkers take their craft – and safety – seriously.
The construction and maintenance of modern energy infrastructure requires a modern energy workforce. That is why EEI and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), whose members make up much of the electric power industry’s workforce, are committed to their partnership to ensure that we have the best trained workforce that can handle these responsibilities safely and efficiently.
As we celebrate the contributions of today’s lineworkers, we are laser-focused on developing a workforce pipeline that allows for the next generation of electrical workers to join their ranks. As part of this effort, it is critical that we have programs that teach students entering the industry from high school and college the skills they need to succeed, as well as job retraining for those looking to join our industry later in their careers. This includes programs like Troops to Energy Jobs, which provides veterans the skills they need to find employment with electric companies.
Becoming one of our nation’s lineworkers is to become part of a community that emphasizes safety and service to others. Last year, Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused catastrophic damage and flooding across numerous states in the Southeast. For each storm, our industry mobilized more than 35,000 workers from all over the U.S. and Canada to help the communities in need recover. Though they came from dozens of different companies, their training and certifications allowed these lineworkers to operate side-by-side safely and efficiently as they worked to restore normalcy, and hope, in the impacted communities.
We are a month into the 2019 hurricane season, and the odds are high that these dedicated lineworkers will be asked once again to pack up their gear and leave their families for extended periods of time to help respond to and recover from a major storm.
All of us rely on the hard work and commitment of our nation’s lineworkers to keep our country and our communities running. Please join us and #ThankALineworker, not just on National Lineworker Appreciation Day, but every day. The work they do ensures that the energy we depend on to power our lives can get where it is needed, when it is needed, while keeping electricity costs affordable.
Tom Kuhn is president of the Edison Electric Institute, the association of investor-owned electric companies.
Lonnie Stephenson is international president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents 775,000 active members and retirees.