It was a rough way to start the year in the Pacific Northwest. As this month’s feature story details, electric co-ops took a hard punch from Mother Nature as the calendar turned to 2022, leaving many without power.
Sometimes a combination of trees, ice and wind is too much for the system to handle. Co-ops need to send out their crews, and in some cases make an urgent appeal for other co-ops and PUDs to help repair equipment and restore power.
Those calls are always answered, which is one of the hallmarks of our business: Cooperation Among Cooperatives. While electric co-ops have terrific staffs at all levels, it is undeniable that co-op lineworkers are unique.
I am keenly aware that my job keeps me in an office where I am warm, safe and dry. I never have to climb a pole or repair a line in an ice storm in the middle of the night. Braving the elements is not the career I have chosen, but I have incredible admiration for those who have. Lineworkers answer the call to help those they have pledged to serve, even if it means missing a family dinner or their children’s extracurricular events.
A lineworker’s job is fraught with peril, and that is why it consistently ranks among the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America along with loggers, steelworkers and truck drivers. Yet we probably all take them for granted, impatiently asking, as I have, “When is the power coming back on?”
Certainly, it is an inconvenience to be without power, and it can be far more than that, as we have witnessed in places such as Texas. But I know utility lineworkers are working around the clock, often in unimaginable conditions to restore power.
This year, I didn’t make many resolutions. But one I did make was to spend more time thanking those who put their lives on the line—literally—each and every day.