Linemen Speak: Ind. Video Depicts Storm GrindBy Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: June 20th, 2014
Want to hear exactly what it was like to restore power in some of the most miserable, frigid conditions in recent memory?
Co-op linemen in Indiana have done just that, recounting their experiences with last winter’s polar vortex in a new video.
South Central Indiana Rural Electric Membership Cooperative is sharing stories from its linemen who braved thigh-high snow and bone-chilling temperatures as the polar vortex descended from the Arctic and stalled over the Midwest.
“In January, we experienced one of the worst winter storms Indiana had ever seen,” said Maura Giles, manager of cooperative relations for the Martinsville-based co-op. “We had so many outages that a lot of our members were without power for four or five days.”
Produced with help from Hoosier Energy, its Bloomington-based G&T, the video will be offered to local TV stations, posted on the South Central Indiana REMC website and shown at its annual meeting.
“It was the coldest temperatures I’ve ever been outside in,” said Brett Hopkins, a second-year apprentice lineman with South Central Indiana. “It was negative 17 one night.”
Snow totals in central Indiana ranged from 9 inches to 15 inches following the Jan. 5 storm, and temperatures remained in the single digits or below zero for nearly a week.
Jobs that would normally take an hour to complete with a bucket truck ate up 3 to 4 hours.
“We drove as close as we could, walked everything in on foot and climbed,” said journeyman lineman Ryan Amburgey.