Lineworker Appreciation Month: A Salute to One Member’s Resolve

To all the hardy souls
Tangled in knots atop of poles
Sweating it out in a blend of blue
Doing a job few would do

In summer heat or winter snow
Taking orders from afar or below
To those who know their distance could be
A rubber glove from eternity

Thank you for your fearless might
Thank you for turning darkness to light

~ Adapted from “A Lineman’s Poem” – author unknown.

April is Lineworker Appreciation Month, and NISC would like to recognize the men and women who keep our homes warm and illuminated.

To help illustrate the why behind our gratitude is a story from Jackson Energy Cooperative, McKee, Ky., who encountered a devastating ice storm in mid-February. Efforts to restore power to the cooperative’s membership extended from Feb. 15-26.

First, the staggering statistics:

  • 32,718 members affected
  • 1,152 total outages
  • 34 transformers
  • 167 broken poles
  • 600-plus spans of wire
  • 40 contractor crews
  • 300-plus field personnel
  • 15,000 hours worked
  • 0 accidents

Prior to the ice storm, Jackson Energy staff had several planning meetings and had a plan developed should the worst-case scenario happen. Once the storm hit and the devastation was evident, it was all hands on deck.

“It was teamwork, without a doubt,” said Carol Wright, Jackson Energy president and CEO. “We had a massive coordination of effort and sacrifice as our employees demonstrated phenomenal endurance, resilience and an undeniable compassion for our membership.”

Efforts included management of over 300 field personnel, extensive logistics and scheduling of essential necessities and completion of fundamental tasks—all without question or hesitation.

“The exemplary teamwork that was shown throughout the transition of restoring service to our membership was remarkable and displayed at a level second to none,” Wright said.

Jackson Energy also expressed appreciation for the role NISC’s partnership played during and following the storm.

According to Wright, NISC’s Outage Management System (OMS) enabled real-time communications between dispatch and field personnel during the storm, and member service representatives were able to relay the same information to members regarding outages.

Jackson Energy’s members also used NISC’s SmartHub app to report outages, and could get around-the-clock updates regarding the number of outages per county and/or system wide from the OMS outage map on Jackson Energy’s website. Following the storm, NISC’s Financials Solution helped in the cooperative’s ability to track materials, create work orders and report expenses.

Gratitude and recognition of Jackson Energy’s efforts poured in from grateful community members during and after the storm. Monica McGeorge, NISC’s Jackson Energy account manager, kept close tabs on the cooperative’s status and was touched by what she saw.

“They never stopped! They worked feverishly and never seemed beaten or tired,” McGeorge recalled. “They reported progress 3-4 times a day, and this continued over a couple weeks. There were so many touching social media posts, comments and offers of support.”

To the lineworkers at Jackson Energy and all of NISC’s Member organizations—thank you for all that you do!