Cooperative lineworkers recognized on NC Lineworker Appreciation Day

Governor Cooper proclaimed Monday, April 8 as Lineworker Appreciation Day in North Carolina, recognizing the commitment that electric utility lineworkers make — rain or shine, day and night — to help power their communities.

These brave technicians work tirelessly to ensure reliable electric service year-round for homes, schools, farms and businesses. Beyond emergency restoration efforts, their responsibilities include building and maintaining the thousands of miles of co-op lines that power rural North Carolina.

Lineworker assists in repairing downed pole after flooding (Courtesy: Union Power Cooperative)

North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives employ more than 1,300 lineworkers across the state, serving 93 counties and connecting 106,000 miles of line between rural and suburban communities. Their dedication helps the cooperatives continue to provide reliable electricity to more than 2.5 million North Carolinians and 45 percent of the state’s land mass.

“Being able to power the lives of the individuals and families we serve is one of the best parts of this job,” said Earbie Goodman, a crew leader and lineworker with Wake Electric Membership Corporation. “Many of us got into this profession because we wanted to play a role in helping our community. Knowing that we are doing that each day is the most gratifying feeling.”

Lineworker repairs line (Courtesy: EnergyUnited)

The training that North Carolina’s electric cooperative lineworkers undergo is extensive, with formal apprenticeships lasting between five to seven years, in addition to 14 weeks of on-site classes with a training and safety team. Even after completing their apprenticeship, co-op lineworkers continue to adhere to a rigorous training schedule, especially as technology evolves.

“Cooperative lineworkers have the great task of maintaining an intricate power system to keep the lights on in our communities,” said Farris Leonard, director of job training and safety for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “They respond unselfishly during the most adverse conditions, and it is great that we have a day in North Carolina dedicated to their service.”

In addition to serving their own communities, North Carolina cooperative lineworkers travel to support co-ops in need during times of crisis, like major hurricanes or other natural disasters –another example of their selfless commitment to powering the lives of co-op members.