April is National Thank A Lineman month, and we’d like to thank our 25 linemen, tree trimmers, and other personnel who helped out in Douglas and Lane counties last month after a sudden intense snowstorm knocked out power to thousands, causing millions of dollars of damage to lines, transformers, and substations. Nature largely spared our service area during this disaster, so when anxious utilities called us for emergency help, we were glad to be able to postpone some of our work to send several crews under “mutual aid” agreements already in place in case of events like this one.
Our Journeyman Lineman Isaac reports: “Lane Electric is a small co-op serving communities outside of Eugene. After that substantial snowfall, they had over 9,000 of their 13,000 meters off. In the areas we helped, there was anywhere from 20” to 4’ of snow. Lines were down everywhere. Conditions were less than ideal, but we got to it and started putting wire up. And continued to put wire up for the next 12 days. I’m sure we all missed our families and home a little bit, but I was proud to represent Central Lincoln and I know that the customers of Lane Electric, as well as the utility, were extremely grateful to have our help.”
Our Operations Supervisor Greg, also a Journeyman Lineman based in Reedsport writes, “Our neighboring utility, Douglas Electric, was devastated by the early morning snow here on the Coast Range. They said they sure could use our help with the coast end of their system. Four days later, our guys had every customer of theirs from their Reedsport delivery point back in power, and we stayed at it for more than two weeks. We lit up customers in Scottsburg who hadn’t had electricity in 16 days. I cannot say enough about how proud I am of our crews. I haven’t been everywhere, but have seen a storm or two and never have I witnessed anything like this. Our guys kept their calm and just kept on ‘eating that elephant’—the damage to lines, poles, and transformers was incredible. This was a good test for us, and an opportunity to hone our skills to be better prepared for the ‘what if’s?’ One thing that I don’t have to wonder about is the resolve of our crews. It is an honor to be a small part of such an amazing restoration effort and I believe we can count ourselves very lucky to have line and tree crews as dedicated and stubborn as they are. I know when this happens here they will all be here until the last meter comes back on.”
“It was a long and hard-fought battle,” says General Manager Randy Grove. “I couldn’t be prouder of our people!”
Thank you, Isaac, Greg, and all of our workers who go out into dark, cold and often wet conditions to restore power whenever and wherever needed. We appreciate you!