Linemen Coming from Afar, Working 24-7 to Restore Power
Independent contractors from West Virginia took a short break in parking lot at Zion’s Lutheran Church to talk to Emmaus Patch Monday night.
Two linemen who drove 11 hours to the Lehigh Valley to assist PPL Electric with its efforts to restore power to the region following Saturday’s unusual October snowstorm took a moment to speak to Emmaus Patch in the parking lot of Zion's Lutheran Church about what the past few days have been like for them.
Both men, independent contractors from Western Virginia, near the Tennessee border, drove about 11 hours to get to Upper Milford Township. They didn’t know each other prior to their trip to Pennsylvania, although they actually live about 30 minutes apart.
Both men said that they have been working around-the-clock since arriving in the Lehigh Valley, a number that they put at 15 hours and counting when they spoke to Emmaus Patch at about 7 p.m. last night.
When they are called for an assignment like the current power restoration efforts in the Lehigh Valley, they typically don’t know where they will be “living” or if, in fact, they will be given accommodations anywhere.
“It might be a hotel or it might be a tent,” said one of the men, adding that the only sleep he had gotten in the past 26 hours had been a short nap in his truck.
PPL’s efforts to get Emmaus Borough and Upper Milford Township back on the grid have been the subject of much debate on both Emmaus Patch and the Emmaus Patch Facebook page. Many PPL customers have been finding fault with how quickly PPL has been restoring electricity to the region and the flow of information from PPL to its customers.
One lineman’s wife joined the conversation on the Emmaus Patch Facebook page to defend her husband and the other linemen:
“As a wife of a PPL linemen, I say shame on you,” she writes. “There were more than 200,000 people out of power in the PPL area. The damage this storm left is none they've ever seen. These conditions make it very difficult to work in. They're working as fast as they can. And, as most of them work to put other people's power back on, they're coming home to a cold house and unable to shower. So please be mindful that they're people and they're doing the best they can. Try and educate yourself in understanding the process and working conditions before making ignorant comments.”