September 23, 2023

SMECO Lineworkers — The Power Behind Your Power

(SMECO Facebook photo)

The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative April 2022 Cooperative Review recognized SMECO’s lineworkers and shared some interesting information about the work they do.

Lineworker Appreciation Day was April 11, and National Lineman Appreciation Day was April 18.

A lineworker’s job is tough — but it’s a job that’s essential and must be done, often in challenging conditions. The work can be heavy, in more ways than one.

Did you know the equipment and tools that a lineworker carries while climbing a utility pole can weigh up to 50 pounds? That’s the same as carrying six gallons of water. Speaking of utility poles, lineworkers are required to climb poles ranging anywhere from 30 to 120 feet tall. Needless to say, if you have a fear of heights, this likely isn’t the career path for you.

Lineworkers must be committed to their career because it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. The long hours and ever-present danger can truly take a toll. In fact, being a lineworker is listed in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the US.

Lineworkers often work non-traditional hours, outdoors in difficult conditions. The job requires technical skills, years of training, and hands-on learning. 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.

Despite the many challenges, SMECO’s lineworkers are committed to powering the local community.

During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called. They must be ready to leave the comfort of their homes and families unexpectedly, and they don’t return until the job is done, often days later. That’s why the lineworker’s family is also dedicated to service. They understand the importance of the job to the community.

Nationwide, there are approximately 120,000 electric lineworkers.

Here in Southern Maryland, SMECO has 124 lineworkers who are responsible for keeping power flowing 24/7, 365 days a year. To do this, they maintain 10,473.3 miles of power lines across 1,150 square miles. In addition to the highly visible tasks lineworkers perform, their job today goes far beyond climbing utility poles to repair a wire.

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.

Being a lineworker is absolutely essential to the community. Lineworkers are the power behind your power. #thankalineman

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative is a customer-owned electric cooperative providing electricity to more than 150,000 services in southern Prince George’s County, Charles County, St. Mary’s County, and Calvert County.

To learn more about SMECO, visit its Leader member page. Visit SMECO on its Facebook page and Twitter.

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