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Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016
Up The Pole Without A LadderPosted Friday, May 20, 2011, at 8:19 AM
The wind was howling, the rain falling sideways, and it was generally a lousy day for everybody... including ducks. So when the power went out yesterday morning for the third time in 2 days, we were not really surprised, until we contacted our neighbor to find out that they had power and we didn't. Jump into action Margie was on the phone pronto and was informed the power company was aware of the problem and was working on it. It was only a few minutes later when the lights came back on.
Well not much later a power company truck rolls up the road and pulls into our driveway. The technician/lineman climbs out of his truck, walks up the house in his bright florescent green rain suit and says "we've got a cracked insulator up the line that is causing our substation circuit breaker to trip. We've got the line reversed so you have power and we're fixing the insulator now, but..."
Oh no I'm thinking, I've worked in lousy weather when the wind is blowing and know how tough working in wet windy weather with electricity can be. I'm thinking this will take some time to repair and he is here to let me know how long.
The lineman continues "...but according to our records, you are on the wrong phase and that's why I'm here. I'm going to go ahead and get your service transferred to match our records if you don't mind me taking you out of power for a bit?" The power company sends a guy out to change our power in the worst possible of conditions? "OK" I say, and off he goes.
I'm thinking as he walks back to his truck, where do they change the line at? This guy isn't going up our pole for routine maintenance and record keeping in this kind of weather... Next thing I see is his truck backing into the road next to the service pole to our house, then the tech "suiting up" for above ground work which involved strapping on his leg pole climbers and safety belt, grabbing some sort of insulated pole, and up he went.
I've climbed thousands of phone poles in my working career, and know just how much fun it can be during bad weather. Wind trying to blow you sideways off the pole, rain in your face covering your safety glasses making it hard to see anything, Maybe it's my mailbox support that consists of a set of phone pole cross-arms with insulators that always reminds me of those days, but the lineman on the pole was impossible for me not to watch.
I don't know how hard the wind was blowing, and I've not seen it rain much harder since we've lived here, but the conditions that lineman dealt with were as bad as any I ever climbed in. The lineman was first safe, then efficient, and as far as I know accurate. He was up and down the pole in short order. I know that feeling of working 40 feet up, hands full of tools with the wind trying to knock you off... I didn't enjoy working those days so much.
I've spoken before about folks that work in lousy weather, I got a good reminder of why again yesterday. A lot of folks put their lives on the line for our convenience and safety. For those of you that do, thank you!
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