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Thanking our lineworkers

Chris Meyers
General Manager
Oklahoma Association of
Electric Cooperatives

 

The lineworker profession is a noble vocation, and one that comes with hazards and personal sacrifices. This last year, we heard the term “essential” more frequently given the pandemic, but the truth is these hardworking men and women keeping our lights on are always essential, pandemic or not. 

Given their honorable service and attributes, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives—along with co-ops from across the nation—are proud to recognize the second Monday of April as National Lineworker Appreciation Day.

National studies have consistently ranked the lineworker profession as one of the most hazardous occupations in the market. Despite the challenges of the trade, however, co-op lineworkers find joy and fulfillment in serving neighbors and communities. 

Lineworkers work with thousands of volts of electricity atop power lines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep electricity flowing to our homes, businesses and communities. You may have seen them raising their bucket trucks in howling Oklahoma winds and torrential rains, or in freezing, icy conditions. When major storms or disasters take place, lineworkers are quick to lend a hand to neighboring co-ops that may have incurred significant damages. 

 Beyond the years of specialized training and apprenticeships, it takes grit, commitment and a mission-oriented outlook to be a good lineman. In fact, this service-oriented mentality is a prominent trait of lineworkers. 

Lineworkers also set aside personal priorities—such as holidays or family events—to serve their community when the power goes out. A lineman’s reliance on a strong support system at home is crucial. A lineworker’s family understands and supports their loved one’s commitment to the greater community during severe storms and extended power outages. 

We are pleased to join in this celebration and recognize the brave men and women who power our lives. We extend our gratitude to their families for supporting their lineworker in this special calling. Please join us in showing appreciation to every co-op lineworker in our communities as well as to their families. Thank you for keeping the lights on. OKL Article End

 

Always Ready to Serve

Brent Bacon
President
Oklahoma Association of
Electric Cooperatives

 

Serving as board president of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, the service organization that represents Oklahoma’s 30 electric cooperative member-systems, has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. Working alongside honorable men and women to provide safe, affordable and reliable power during such a turbulent year has been a challenge we have met with fortitude and focus.

In the spring of 2020, we experienced the onset of the pandemic in Oklahoma, and in the months that followed I witnessed one of the cooperative’s core guiding principles, “Concern for Community” in action. Not only did Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives keep the lights on, but through policies put in place by local memberships, cooperatives were able to lend a hand to neighbors in times of need. From grants to care packages to sewing masks, cooperatives stepped up to the plate to serve members with excellence.

In the fall of 2020, a historic ice storm barraged our service territories, creating ice accumulations up to 4 inches in some areas. The early timing of the storm, while the trees were still laden with limbs and leaves, caused significant damage to electric utility infrastructure. At its peak, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives experienced more than 77,000 outages. In true cooperative spirit, mutual aid crews from at least 17 electric cooperatives assisted impacted co-ops in our state. 

Most recently, in February of 2021, we experienced record-low temperatures. The extreme weather conditions, demand for electricity and exponential increase of natural gas prices created a “perfect storm” of supply and demand we had not seen before. While the full impact of this storm is not yet known, generation and transmission cooperatives and their member distribution cooperatives are evaluating higher-than-usual costs and determining ways to lessen the impact of such increases to their cooperative membership as best as possible.

Whether the issue at hand is a global pandemic or restoration from a historic storm, if I can emphasize one takeaway from my year of service as board president, it is this: each member of this organization cares, from the top to the bottom. There are many talented people in our cooperative family who come together to accomplish our mission. Remember—your cooperative is always ready to serve you, the consumer-member. OKL Article End