Crews respond quickly to outages

Often braving the cold, the weather, the long days, a line technician’s work is almost never done. This year, April 11 is Linemen Appreciation Day, which is a reminder of the hard work line technicians do to keep electricity reliable.

“Great River Energy has service centers throughout our service area so that when a storm hits, we can quickly assemble a team to bring back reliable power,” said Roger Kiefer, manager of transmission construction and maintenance at Great River Energy. “We are also a member of a mutual assistance group which can augment our personnel or equipment. In addition, we have a comprehensive storm response plan so that our system can continue to provide reliable power. We rely on our linemen during outages, and they have performed equal to their heavy task.”

When linemen first started out, they used basic tools like hammers and poles. Though they still use these items, Great River Energy has helped update the tools they use on a daily basis.

“We now have mobile mapping available to us. We can look up where a pole is down on an iPad, rather than having to look it up through a potentially outdated, printed map book,” said Mike Heinz, line technician foreperson at Great River Energy’s New Prague outpost. “I can instantly see what the pole size is, where the storm breaker pole is and what number of the pole is that caused the outage. The new mobile mapping technology has made my job easier and has provided us with efficiency that we can use during a crunch time, like during a storm when an outage is caused by a broken pole.”

Great River Energy also works with linemen from its member-owner cooperatives during outages and extreme situations.