Prepared for surprises
June is one of our favorite months of the year at Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC). Primarily it’s because we begin it with a celebration of our linemen as part of the state’s Lineman Appreciation Day — conducted yearly on the first Monday of the month.
In most years we commemorate the day with an employee luncheon, honoring not just our linemen, but all of the employees who help them to perform the great work they do. It takes a team effort to process service requests, order and organize materials, and prioritize work orders before our linemen hit the roads.
Following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, our celebrations have been a bit tempered, but they still occur. Our linemen deserve recognition since they are tremendously skilled and dedicated — as they so capably displayed on April 24 this year.
A spring weather system sent multiple waves of storms through our area on that day, and the effects were immediate. By late morning, we had registered more than 4,000 outages — the most we have had from one storm system since Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Meteorologists predicted a potential for severe weather that Saturday, but they raised the threat to a moderate level less than 24 hours prior. Despite the sudden change in forecast intensity and potential impact, our line crews partnered with others to restore power to everyone before dawn the next day.
How were we able to do this? WEC remains as prepared as possible, even when the weather catches us by surprise. Our linemen always willingly answer the call, no matter that it’s at 6 on a Saturday morning. And when they answer, they stay on task until the job is completed.
Restoring 4,000 outages in a single day takes a lot of teamwork, and WEC has great partnerships that expedited recovery. We contract with a few privately-owned companies to assist us on major projects — like a wide-scale outage. We have mutual aid agreements through the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives that allow other power providers to send us help.
Of course, we return the favor when others need our assistance.
We make these arrangements to ensure service is restored to our members as quickly as possible. Still, we need the motivated and highly trained members of the lineworker profession to execute them and accomplish our goal.
We hope you will join us in thanking the men and women who keep the lights on for us every day.
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative