CLARKSDALE – No two workdays are alike for Clarksdale Public Utilities linemen, but every task they perform serves the same purpose — to keep power flowing safely and reliably to customers. On April 18, their role in providing an essential service to utility customers will be recognized during National Lineman Appreciation Day.
“Every day, CPU linemen are on the front lines of customer service making sure our community has a steady supply of reliable electricity,” said CPU General Manager Curtis D. Boschert. “Even when they are not at work, they are always prepared to be called into action to restore power after severe weather and other disruptions. CPU line workers take great pride in what they do and are committed to safety and professionalism in all aspects of their job.”
Just about everywhere you go in Clarksdale, you’ll see the handiwork of CPU linemen. They maintain around 105 miles of distribution line and 24 miles of transmission line and perform service installations, inspections, maintenance, tree trimming and repairs. In addition, they maintain streetlights throughout the city and install signage to promote local events.
“I like the variety of work we do, and I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people,” said Dylan Doss, a CPU apprentice lineman since 2016. “Preventing outages is one of our main goals, and it’s a real team effort to keep the lights on.”
Aggressive tree-trimming has been an effective strategy to reduce outages and boost reliability, Doss noted. Last year, contract crews performed major tree-trimming and clearing operations as part of CPU’s “Bright Future” initiative to improve service — an effort that helped cut outages in half over the previous year.
Almost every service call involves interacting with customers, which is an enjoyable part of the job for Ethan Havens, who joined CPU in 2018 as an apprentice lineman.
“I feel like I’m helping the community when I’m doing my job,” Havens said. “When customers have service problems, I let them know they’re not alone and do my best to take care of their issue promptly and professionally.”
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, CPU linemen and all employees are limiting personal interactions with customers and practicing social-distancing guidelines and other precautions to prioritize health and safety.
When it comes to safety, linemen are accustomed to following strict rules. In addition to being technically proficient, they undergo continuous safety training and wear personal protective equipment, such as harnesses, hard hats, safety glasses and rubber gloves. They also use rubber hoses and rubber blankets to prevent electrical contacts when working in the field.
“Working with 8,000 volts can be dangerous, and that is why it’s important to respect electricity instead of fearing it,” Doss said. “We know that working safely is the first rule of being a lineman. Protecting our safety and the safety of the public are our top priorities at all times.”
Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,500 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.
Learn more at http://cdpu.net.