Always on duty

Pat O’Loughlin, president & CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives

Across the state, Ohio’s electric co-ops invest in new and updated equipment to bring electricity to your home or business on a continuous and uninterrupted basis. Cooperatives engage technological advances to track the performance of our electric distribution networks and to solve problems quickly. We train our staff to be available when you need us and to resolve issues safely and reliably. Today, more than ever, our world is powered by our electric system. Yet, in spite of investments in technology, time, and preparation, Mother Nature still puts us in our place from time to time.

The past winter brought an unexpected ice storm to northwestern Ohio, followed by a brutal February windstorm that caused power outages across the state. Now, as the season thaws into spring, we brace ourselves for inevitable thunderstorms, while crossing our fingers to ward against tornadoes.

Your electric cooperative is staffed with dedicated employees who respond to each and every event that comes our way. From the member service representatives who take your calls to the engineers and managers who formulate appropriate action plans to the linemen who brave the elements to restore your electric service, each member of the team is committed to the three “R’s” — respond, restore, and reassure.

April 8 is Lineworker Appreciation Day, when we recognize the professionals who put themselves in peril to provide the power that energizes us. Even under the best circumstances, line work is a difficult and potentially dangerous job. As recent events remind us, the skills of lineworkers are most crucial when conditions are worst.

To do the job effectively and consistently, lineworkers rely on their support systems. Training, obviously, is of utmost importance, and your co-op ensures that lineworkers stay up to date on best practices. The rest of the co-op team is there to be sure that work is dispatched efficiently and that proper materials and equipment are on hand for repairs. They let our members know what to expect. Often overlooked, but perhaps most important, is the pillar of our families, as we respond to routine and emergency calls alike.

Electric cooperatives are sometimes compared to a big family; the next time you turn on a light, thank a lineman.