(PLAINFIELD) – Snapped poles and tangled power lines over a battered landscape of downed trees are the usual challenges lineworkers face after severe weather strikes – but the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s recommended safety guidelines added new complexities to lineworkers’ already complicated work.
Spring storms that barreled across the Midwest and Southeast this month tested even the most seasoned lineworkers, who adjusted to new social distancing and face mask requirements while working to restore power to nearly 1 million Duke Energy customers – including essential services like hospitals, grocery stores and schools that provide meals.
Electricity plays an essential role during a time when many people – because of stay-at-home orders – now live, work, eat, teach, learn and play exclusively at home, every day.
Sharing the spotlight: ‘Front Lights for Front-Line Workers”
April 18 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day – a day set aside each year to honor the men and women who dedicate themselves to the often hazardous work of keeping the lights on. But this year, Duke Energy is sharing the spotlight with all essential workers who are keeping the nation safe and functioning during the pandemic.
“I’ve been awestruck by the selfless acts of everyday heroes – from the health care workers fighting the virus on the front lines, to store clerks stocking the shelves with food, to concerned citizens delivering groceries to elderly neighbors,” said Harry Sideris, senior vice president of Duke Energy customer experience and services. “We are all united in the midst of this uncertainty, and we find ourselves – as we often do in crises – on the front lines doing the necessary work to keep things running. We’re especially proud of our lineworkers for keeping the lights on for the essential facilities, homes, and businesses that depend on us during such an important time in our nation.”
As part of the shared recognition, the company is encouraging its customers and communities to turn on front lights on April 18 at 9 p.m. for its “Front lights for Front-Line Workers” initiative to recognize all front-line heroes.
Those who wish to participate are encouraged to use the hashtags #FrontLights4FrontLineWorkers and #ThankALineman on social media.
More than 7,800 Duke Energy and contract lineworkers are part of the Duke Energy team in six states, including Indiana. They are responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining equipment and more than 300,000 miles of power lines in Duke Energy’s service territories – that’s enough to wrap around the Earth 12 times.