A day set aside to celebrate the accomplishments of workers whose devotion to duty is at the heart of electric cooperatives.
Palmetto, GA—April 17, 2015—Electric membership corporations, including Coweta-Fayette EMC, and other utilities gathered Monday at the state Capitol as elected officials and additional dignitaries recognized the brave Georgians who serve as highly skilled electric linemen.
According to EMC CEO Chris Stephens, the work of a lineman is visible year-round, but particularly during summer thunderstorms, tornadoes and winter ice storms like Winter Storm Octavia, which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of Georgians in February.
“The heroic work by these linemen in the face of the damaging winter weather in February provides even more foundation for public demonstrations of appreciation for their efforts and sacrifices in the duty of power restoration,” Stephens said. “And sadly, you can be sure that hundreds of electric cooperative linemen have been working non-stop since last week following straight-line winds and tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest and caused thousands of outages for consumers in hard-hit and remote areas.”
The April 13 celebration was the second Lineman Appreciation Day in Georgia and follows two companion resolutions introduced in both the Georgia State House and Senate: HR 751, sponsored by Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta) and others; and SR 501, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta).
According to Stephens, linemen often labor in treacherous conditions far from their families to construct and maintain the energy infrastructure, working with thousands of volts of electricity high atop poles and power lines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In fact, the danger of line work on power poles and along roadways was underscored recently by a tragic accident in central Fla. that killed three electric linemen after two cars collided and one was pushed into an area where the men were working.
In spite of the dangers, line crews are often first responders during storms and other events, working to make the scene safe for additional public safety personnel. Also, due to the nature of their jobs and travels across co-op service territories, linemen often come upon people in medical and other emergencies that require quick action and life-saving measures.
National Lineman Appreciation Day
In addition to the celebration in Georgia, resolutions have been sponsored since 2012 in the U.S. Congress recognizing April 18 as a national day of recognition for electric utility linemen.
Last year, hundreds of celebrations across the country were held for linemen from municipal, investor-owned and electric cooperative utilities, with support from the National Association of Journeymen Lineman, American Public Power Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Electric Energy Institute and IBEW, among many other industry partners.
Coweta-Fayette EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to more than 76,000 member accounts in Coweta, Fayette, Heard, South Fulton, Clayton, Spalding, Troup and Meriwether Counties.
Facts about Electric Co-op Linemen
- Linemen make up the largest single category of jobs at the typical distribution co-op.
- There are about 18,000 full-time linemen in the rural electric program, making up nearly one-third of all rural electric distribution co-op employees.
- The average age of a co-op lineman is 43.
- Co-op linemen maintain 2,566,917 miles of distribution line for 850 distribution systems nationwide.