Saluting the Electric Lineworkers of America

By the Executive Team and staff of Protect Our Power

In the many discussions taking place about our national electricity supply and the need to make our electric grid more robust and resilient, it is easy to sometimes forget just how fortunate we are. In the U.S., we enjoy a highly reliable electricity supply, short duration outages, and generally affordable rates.

These electric grid attributes power our economy, ensure adequate supplies of food and clean water, keep our hospitals, emergency services and transportation system running, and support our way of life in myriad other ways.

It is also easy to sometimes forget how this all happens — that human beings run the power plants, and build and maintain the more than 5.7 million miles of transmission and distribution lines that deliver electricity to our homes and businesses every minute of every day. And as we work nationally to make our highly complex grid smarter, cleaner, more robust, and more resilient, it is the people on the job who turn those plans into reality.

July 10 was National Lineworker Appreciation Day in the U.S., established to honor and say thanks to the approximately 75,000 lineworkers across the country who keep the power flowing regardless of the challenges. Being a lineworker is inherently dangerous — working high off the ground, or underground, for example, in hurricanes, blizzards and wildfires, often with the ever-present danger of live electricity. And, more recently, the coronavirus, which has required lineworkers in some locales to be sequestered away from their families so they are readily available for emergencies.

It is a 24/7/365 job that involves personal sacrifice and exists largely behind the scenes.

But when the power goes out, lineworkers are ready, mobilizing quickly, traveling to where their help is needed most, whether that is across town or the state, or even across the country, and working around the clock until the power is safely and reliably restored.

A romantic notion of the “lineman” was brought into the American conscience with Glen Campbell’s classic version of Jimmy Webb’s haunting love song, “Wichita Lineman.” In an interview after the song became a mega-hit, Webb said he was trying to write about ordinary people, the worker we all see every day, and Webb credits songwriter Billy Joel with capturing the song’s true essence — “it is a simple song about an ordinary man thinking extraordinary thoughts.”

That essence adapts easily to today’s lineworker — ordinary people performing extraordinary work, day in and day out, unsung heroes who do what their job requires not only because it is their job, but because they know that the rest of us are relying on them to deliver the safety, security, and stability that a reliable, affordable supply of electricity brings to our lives.

So, hats, and hardhats, off to the lineworkers of America, who have an annual day of observance named in their honor, but who deserve our recognition and thanks every day of the year.

Protect Our Power

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