When most people think about an electric utility, they often think about the linemen who work out in the elements to restore power during an outage. Linemen play an important role in maintaining and building the infrastructure that brings electricity to your homes, farms, and businesses. It is the reason many organizations have designated a day to celebrate the 75,000 electrical lineworkers across the country who are dedicated to keeping the lights on.
Electric cooperatives are getting ready to celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 13. In 2015, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) designated the second Monday of April as a day to recognize linemen for the important work they do to serve the members of their cooperatives. The designation came after the United States Senate passed a resolution which singled out one day - April 18, 2013 - as Lineworker Appreciation Day.
The resolution passed by the U.S. Senate recognized linemen as the ‘first responders during storms and other catastrophic events’ who work ‘to make the scene safe for other public safety heroes.’ Following the passage of that resolution, cooperatives realized that celebrating lineworkers on April 18 every year would conflict with holidays and other events. It is the reason the NRECA board designated the second Monday of April as a day to pause and thank linemen.
However, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) celebrate linemen on July 10. These groups started recognizing lineworkers on this day because IBEW’s first president was a lineman and July 10 is the anniversary of the day he was killed on the job. July 10 serves as a sobering reminder of the dangerous work linemen face every day.
Over the next few months, you may see organizations celebrating Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 13, April 18, or July 10. Every organization has its reasons for celebrating linemen on those days. The most important thing, however, is that we take a moment to thank linemen for their work.
Every day linemen work with heavy equipment around high-voltage power lines to ensure the members and consumers at the end of the line have a safe and reliable source of electricity. When storms roll through the area the job becomes even more difficult as linemen must venture out into harsh conditions to work with high-voltage electricity and restore power. So, if you see a lineman working out in the field or they restore your power following an outage, a quick thank you or a note mailed to the office is all it takes to show your appreciation. And, it doesn’t matter what day you do it.
By: Ben Dunsmoor