Lineworkers: The Power Behind Your Power

Join Us in Celebrating Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 11.

You’ve likely noticed Umatilla Electric’s crews out and about, working on power lines and other electrical equipment in our communities. It’s no secret that a lineworker’s job is tough––but it’s a job must be done, often in challenging conditions

The work can be heavy, in more ways than one. The tools and equipment that a lineworker carries while climbing a utility pole can weigh up to 50 pounds. That’s the same as carrying six gallons of water. Lineworkers are required to climb poles ranging anywhere from 30 to 120 feet tall.

Lineworkers must be committed to their career––because it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. The long hours and ever-present danger can truly take a toll. In fact, being a lineworker is listed in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S.

Lineworkers often work non-traditional 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.

Becoming a journeyman lineworker can take an average of 7,000 hours of training (roughly four 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.

Rising to meet the many challenges, UEC’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local communities. 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, often 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. Umatilla Electric has 20 employees working in the field that are responsible for keeping power flowing 24/7, 365 days a year. To do this, they maintain over 16,000 meters across four counties and 1,890 square miles. In addition to the highly visible tasks lineworkers perform, their job today goes far beyond climbing utility poles to repair a wire. Today’s lineworkers are information experts who can pinpoint power outages from miles away. Line crews now use laptops, tablets, drones and other technologies to map outages, survey damage and troubleshoot problems.

Being a lineworker may not seem like a glamorous job, but it is absolutely essential to the life of our community. Without the exceptional dedication and commitment of these hardworking men and women, we simply would not have the reliable electricity that we need for everyday life.

So, the next time you see a lineworker, please thank them for the work they do to keep power flowing, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. Afterall, lineworkers are the power behind your power.

To celebrate all they do for us, we thought we'd ask those who look up to them the most, their children, how much they appreciate the lineworker in their life. Make sure to #thankalineman today!