Oklahoma’s electric cooperative’s lineworkers are committed to powering local communities.
Without the exceptional dedication of these hardworking men and women, we simply would not have the reliable electricity that we need for everyday life.
Oklahoma has nearly 1,000 lineworkers who are responsible for keeping the lights on for more than 523,000 cooperative members. Collectively, Oklahoma cooperative lineworkers maintain nearly 123,000 miles of power lines across all 77 Oklahoma counties and cover 93% of the state’s landmass.
In addition to the highly visible tasks lineworkers perform, their job goes far beyond climbing utility poles to make repairs. 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.
The job requires technical skills, years of training and hands-on learning. Did you know that becoming a journeyman lineworker can take more than 7,000 hours of training (or about 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.
Being a lineworker is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. With long hours and ever-present danger, lineworkers have one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S. During severe weather events that cause 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. Lineworkers’ families are also dedicated to service, and we appreciate their sacrifices in keeping the lights on for all members.
I hope you will join me in thanking your lineworkers for keeping the power flowing, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. After all, lineworkers are the power behind your power. Please recognize them on April 11 and follow #ThankALineworker on social media to see how others are recognizing lineworkers.
By Chris Meyers
General Manager | Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives