Celebrating National Lineman Appreciation Day across America

CNMIP-transmission-98Tri-State is proudly celebrating National Lineman Appreciation Day today in honor of the skilled and brave men and women who protect the safety of the American public and keep vital electric power flowing across the nation.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution honoring all linemen for their work in keeping the power on and designating April 18, 2013 as National Lineman Appreciation Day.

“Coloradans know well that weather conditions can change rapidly, and that unpredictability can wreak havoc on our electric grid that supplies power to our homes, businesses, and communities,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “The men and women who serve our communities as linemen protect public safety on a daily basis as first responders during storms and other catastrophic events. I am sincerely grateful for their service and willingness to brave dangerous conditions to maintain the energy infrastructure of the country.”

Tri-State employs approximately 40 journeymen linemen and six apprentices. Mac Fellin, maintenance manager for the west side, noted the value of all linemen, including those at Tri-State’s member systems. “They respond day or night in any kind of weather,” he said. “They’re all out there to keep the lights on for everybody.”

Billy DePue, line maintenance superintendent, pointed out that the work of a lineman has changed dramatically in the last 40 years. “The knowledge and skills they need today is incredible,” he said. “They operate heavy equipment, drive large trucks, work from helicopters, report damages electronically, manage vegetation, input all data for structures to the GIS department and more – they’ve become risk managers.”

That intellectual ability must be balanced with physical skill. For linemen working in western rural areas, climbing ability and comfort with heights is paramount, explained Fellin. “Our lines can be over 100 feet high in remote, mountainous terrain where bucket trucks are not always an option.”

task33-036DePue noted that beyond Tri-State’s renowned four-year apprenticeship program, it takes years on the job to obtain and become proficient with required skills. As the transmission grid gets heavier and heavier, it becomes more difficult to conduct maintenance and more work is done with energized lines. Those skills are critical to a lineman’s own safety, as well as maintaining the flow of vital electricity across the country.

Today would be an ideal opportunity to thank a lineman for his or her invaluable work!

The bill for National Lineman Appreciation Day was introduced by Sens. Isakson (R-GA) and Bennet (D-CO) and passed by unanimous consent. Here is the official resolution:

113th CONGRESS

S. RES. 95

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES


RESOLUTION

Recognizing linemen, the profession of linemen, the contributions of these brave men and women who protect public safety, and expressing support for the designation of April 18, 2013, as National Lineman Appreciation Day.

Whereas the profession of linemen is steeped in personal, family, and professional tradition;

Whereas linemen are often first responders during storms and other catastrophic events, working to make the scene safe for other public safety heroes;

Whereas linemen work with thousands of volts of electricity high atop power lines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to keep electricity flowing;

Whereas linemen must often work under dangerous conditions far from their families to construct and maintain the energy infrastructure of the United States;

Whereas linemen put their lives on the line every day with little recognition from the community regarding the danger of their work; and

Whereas April 18, 2013, would be an appropriate date to designate as National Lineman Appreciation Day: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Senate–

(1) recognizes the efforts of linemen in keeping the power on and protecting public safety; and

(2) supports the designation of April 18, 2013, as National Lineman Appreciation Day.

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