When most people think about an electric utility, they often think about the lineworkers who work out in the elements to restore power during an outage. Lineworkers play an important role in maintaining and building the infrastructure that brings electricity to your homes, farms, and businesses. It is the reason many organizations have designated a day to celebrate the electrical lineworkers who are dedicated to keeping the lights on.
Electric cooperatives are getting ready to celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 11. In 2015, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) designated the second Monday of April as a day to recognize lineworkers for the important work they do to serve the members of their cooperatives. The designation came after the United States Senate passed a resolution which singled out one day - April 18, 2013 - as Lineworker Appreciation Day.
The resolution passed by the U.S. Senate recognized lineworkers as the ‘first responders during storms and other catastrophic events’ who work ‘to make the scene safe for other public safety heroes.’ Following the passage of that resolution, cooperatives realized that celebrating lineworkers on April 18 every year would conflict with holidays and other events. It is the reason the NRECA board designated the second Monday of April as a day to pause and thank lineworkers.
However, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) celebrate lineworkers on July 10. These groups started recognizing lineworkers on this day because IBEW’s first president was a lineworker and July 10 is the anniversary of the day he was killed on the job. July 10 serves as a sobering reminder of the dangerous work lineworkers face every day.
Over the next few months, you may see organizations celebrating Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 11, April 18, or July 10. Every organization has its reasons for celebrating lineworkers on those days. The most important thing, however, is that we take a moment to thank lineworkers for their work.
Every day lineworkers work with heavy equipment around high-voltage power lines to ensure the members and consumers at the end of the line have a safe and reliable source of electricity. When storms roll through the area the job becomes even more difficult as lineworkers must venture out into harsh conditions to work with high-voltage electricity and restore power. So, if you see a lineworker working out in the field or they restore your power following an outage, a quick thank you or a note mailed to the office is all it takes to show your appreciation. And, it doesn’t matter what day you do it.