It would stand to reason Alabama Power would be first up to offer thanks and gratefulness during National Lineman Appreciation Day April 18.
But others outside the company are just as eager.
“The linemen who work in Alabama are some of our state’s most dedicated unsung heroes,” said Alabama Public Service Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh. “These men and women show an uncommon commitment to their neighbors and fellow Alabamians every time they rush in after a disaster to help restore people’s lives back to normal. They are our utility first responders, and I pray for them when they are called in for duty in difficult environments.”
Former state House Speaker Seth Hammett, now chairman of the Energy Institute of Alabama, joined the chorus.
“Alabama’s electric utility linemen truly are the face of the power industry and are seen by the public as first responders when there is a weather or other natural disaster,” Hammett said. “After a severe storm, one of the most welcome sights is of our linemen and their trucks working to restore power to homes and businesses that depend on us.”
But lineman also toil in pedestrian, day-to-day work that is just as meaningful – stringing new wire and performing routine maintenance, without which power could not be delivered to homes and businesses.
It’s for all the above that Congress passed a resolution in 2013 recognizing April 18 as National Lineman Appreciation Day. Alabama Power will use the occasion to kick off a series of stories, videos and celebrations showcasing various elements of linemen and their jobs between now and the state Lineman Appreciation Day, designated by the Alabama Legislature as the first Monday in June.
“As we look to celebrate National Lineman Appreciation Day, I immediately recall all the challenges we faced in 2018 and early 2019 that have been severe weather-related and had significant impact to so many of our customers,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president of Power Delivery.
“Our linemen go to work during these most challenging times and perform their jobs in extremely challenging environments with tremendous success. The craft, knowledge and skill displayed by these employees create such a sense of pride and appreciation,’’ he said. “I think it is incredibly important that we take a day to just say, ‘Thank you,’ and show our appreciation for the great work these skilled craftsmen display day in and day out.”
Utilities across the nation are joining Alabama Power in similar observances. One of them is Dallas-based Oncor Electric Delivery Co., which serves 10 million customers in Texas.
“We are engaging with our communities by sharing videos and photos on social media, spotlighting our linemen among our employees through our company’s intranet, and have even more ways in store for our several locations across our service territory,” said Oncor spokeswoman Briana Monsalve.
Alabama Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden said during his tenure as a state legislator he helped get legislation passed designating linemen as first responders.
“On a daily basis, and especially after severe storms, linemen brave the inclement weather and challenging terrain to remove downed trees and other hazards to get customers’ power back on,” he said.
His fellow commissioner, Chip Beeker, said it is only fitting to pay tribute to those efforts.
“It is incredibly important we take a day to just say ‘thank you’ and show our appreciation for the great work these skilled craftsmen display day in and day out,” Beeker said.
At Alabama Power, those tributes hit home.
“What a great honor to be recognized for the hard work and the tireless efforts of the lineman trade,” said Casey Shelton, business manager, IBEW System Council U-19.