TREMPEALEAU COUNTY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The workers who keep our lights on get their own spotlight today. First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff tells us what linemen do to keep power flowing.
How often do you think about the electricity in your home? When the lights go out somebody has to come by to fix them, which is where linemen come in to perform a job that’s considered to be one of the most dangerous in the country.
Bill Mason, Riverland Energy Co-Op Assistant Line Superintendent said, “Obviously you’ve got the electricity, that’s probably the most dangerous part of it but you also have the environment, you have traffic, the general public which sometimes can be a little tricky once in a while, it’s not a 70-degree inside office job, you’re out in the elements.”
Electric cooperatives recognize the second Monday in April as National Lineman Appreciation Day to respect the tireless hours the workers put in.
“365-day, 24-hour-a-day type of job, you miss birthdays you miss Christmas, if you have outages,” said Mason.
Riverland energy cooperative is one of 24 electric co-ops in the state that serve more than 263 thousand farms, homes, and businesses. Linemen with Riverland say it’s a great line of work that provides value to their community.
Adam Siebenaler, a lineman, said, “I never saw myself as someone sitting in an office staring out the window at people working outside, it was just a great opportunity to help the membership, help the community and work outside.”
The Rural Electric Program has about 18 thousand full-time linemen which comprises 16 percent of all linemen in the country, but workers say the job can be a thankless one.
“Not a lot of people know what we do, they just flip on a light switch and expect it to come on, they don’t know what goes into it,” said Siebenaler.
Mason said “A lot of things depend on electricity and when it’s not there you really know it and you really take it for granted sometimes but that’s why we’re there.”
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association says linemen play a key role in keeping the lights on for 42 million Americans in 48 states.
In Trempealeau County, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine.
Co-op lineworkers maintain power for 42 million Americans in 48 states while supporting over two million miles of distribution lines.