CEO’s Message – May 2023

Leave it to the Professionals

Jason Clemmons, CEO

“Someone’s going to end up getting killed.”

That’s what I heard when I spoke with our linemen a few weeks ago, following what seemed like the tenth wind storm this year. They told me about responding to an outage call where a tree had fallen and was leaning against the power lines. When they pulled up to the scene the tree was on the ground, having already been cut down with a chainsaw.

Our linemen weren’t exaggerating when they told me that someone could have been killed. No matter how much training or experience a person may have cutting down trees, they weren’t worried about the tree rolling or falling in the wrong direction on the way down. When a tree touches a power line, the tree can become energized, meaning electricity is flowing through the limbs and bark of that tree. Even the ground can become energized, especially when power lines hit the ground or get wrapped up in debris after a storm. Touching the tree or the ground near it can be just as deadly as grabbing the power
line itself.

Lineworkers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and they go through thousands of hours of training to do their jobs safely. And while we appreciate anyone trying to be a helpful neighbor, the best of intentions can still have the worst of consequences. There is no circumstance where it’s safe for a member or emergency responder to move a power line or cut down a tree that’s mixed up in a power outage. Doing so will not get your power on any sooner.

Please, wait for REMC professionals to arrive and verify that the scene is safe. Life is too precious a thing to gamble because of a power outage.

Jason Clemmons