The Power Behind Your Power
You’ve likely noticed Wells Rural Electric Company’s crews out and about, working on power lines and other electrical equipment in the community. It’s no secret a lineworker’s job is tough—but it’s a job that’s essential and must be done, often in challenging conditions. As we celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day April 10, here are some interesting facts about electric lineworkers.
The work can be heavy in more ways than one. Did you know the equipment and tools a lineworker carries while climbing a utility pole can weigh up to 50 pounds? That’s the same as carrying 6 gallons of water. Speaking of utility poles, lineworkers are required to climb poles ranging anywhere from 30 to 120 feet tall. Needless to say, if you have a fear of heights, this likely is not a career for you.
Lineworkers often work nontraditional hours outdoors in difficult conditions. While the job does not require a college degree, it does require technical skills, years of training and hands-on learning. Did you know becoming a journeyman lineworker can take more than 7,000 hours of training (or about 4 years)? That’s because working with high-voltage equipment requires specialized skills, experience and an ongoing mental toughness. Shortcuts are not an option, and there is no room for error in this line of work.
Despite the many challenges, WREC’s lineworkers are committed to powering the community. During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called. They must be ready to leave the comfort of their home and families unexpectedly, and they don’t return until the job is done—sometimes days later. That’s why the lineworker’s family is also dedicated to service. They understand the importance of the job to the community.
Nationwide, there are approximately 120,000 electric lineworkers. WREC’s lineworkers are responsible for keeping power flowing 24/7, 365 days a year. To do this, they maintain almost 1,500 miles of power lines across 10,000 square miles of service territory. In addition to the highly visible tasks lineworkers perform, their job today goes far beyond climbing utility poles to repair a wire.
Being a lineworker is absolutely essential to the life of the community. Without the dedication and commitment of these hardworking men and women, we simply would not have the reliable electricity we need for everyday life.
So, the next time you see a lineworker, please thank them for their work to keep power flowing, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. After all, lineworkers are the power behind your power.