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Perspective: The Life of a ‘Lineman’ Helping Restore Power

Via the Wall Street Journal:

Life without electrical power, as the victims of Hurricane Sandy can attest, is inconvenient, uncomfortable and often boring. For the people who repair Sandy’s damage, however, it can be lethal.

I know, because I grew up in a household where the breadwinner worked for a power company. After flying 32 missions over Europe as a ball-turret-gunner on a B17, my dad returned home in 1946 and took a job with Ameren Electric, based in St. Louis.

As a kid, if I was still awake when he returned home from a trouble call, I would sit at the kitchen table while he ate a warmed-up dinner served by my mother. He shoveled in food like he was feeding a coal furnace, and metaphorically speaking he was: Pulling double shifts while dangling in the air during a subzero ice storm burns a lot of calories. . .


I lived in the northeast from 1992 until 2010, when I moved to the hurricane zone in Miami. So far, NYC has had 2 hurricanes and I've had none. But before I left, I cautioned my parents who lived in Pennsylvania at the time to cut back their trees as the second growth forest that is everywhere would come tumbling down at the first big wind or ice storm. With me in Miami, there'd be nobody to help dig them out. They moved, but reports are their property lost a bunch of trees during Irene. I can only imagine what happened during Sandy. Anyway, this story is a great reminder of the real people who do the work to get the lights back on. Lights that wouldn't have gone out in the first place if communities had taken the time to look up and realize having trees grow into the power lines is not the best of ideas. - Greg Pollowitz


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