National Lineworker Appreciation Day is Saturday, April 18.
Lineworkers and utility staff are essential personnel working to keep power reliable
East Montpelier, Vt: April 18 is the national appreciation day for America’s lineworkers. Electric lineworkers exhibit courage and expertise year round in a job that requires grueling hours of work in dangerous conditions. In Washington Electric Co-op’s (WEC) central Vermont service area, lineworkers also work in rural, heavily forested terrain to keep power on and to restore power after storms.
“Our crews go out in the middle of the night in a blizzard, on snowshoes, repairing lines so our members can turn on their lights in the morning,” said General Manager Patty Richards. “When a big storm rolls through, we don’t stop until every last member has power. Our employees’ stamina and dedication is practically superhuman.”
Safety in the field is always critically important. But this year, keeping line crews safe from the COVID-19 virus is as important as normal electric safety protocol. Along with all other utilities, WEC staff are designated as essential personnel. While many of WEC’s office workers are able to work remotely, line crews must continue working in the field, repairing lines and equipment and restoring power.
“We are doing everything we can to keep from exposing our team to the virus,” said Richards. “We need to keep our employees healthy and safe so that we are able to restore power in any type of outage.”
Safety protocol for lineworkers and other WEC personnel include:
- Social distancing for individuals within a crew, at home and in the warehouse
- One lineworker per vehicle
- Staggered work shifts
- Increased remote work and social distancing for dispatchers and other office-based team members
While WEC encourages its members and the public to thank a lineworker on April 18 and every day, it also asks that appreciation be demonstrated virtually or remotely. Members and the public are reminded that while it is all right to wave or greet line crews from a distance, they must not be approached nor distracted from their work.
WEC’s office and warehouse remain closed to the general public. Staff are still available by phone and email to answer questions and work on essential services.
Washington Electric Co-op is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility founded in 1939. WEC serves approximately 10,800 member-owners in 41 towns throughout Washington, Orange, Caledonia and Orleans counties with power generated from 100 percent renewable sources. WEC is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information please visit https://www.washingtonelectric.coop or call 802-223-5245.