A new license plate thanking linemen for their hard work and sacrifice was unveiled Monday morning during the state’s annual Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day.
The Energy Institute of Alabama (EIA) hosted the ceremony and luncheon at Alabama Power’s Crew Headquarters at Gunter Park in Montgomery. EIA Chairman Seth Hammett during a news conference announced the pre-sale of the license plate.
“We know that you’re the face of this business,” Hammett said. “Some ask us why we don’t honor the people in the power plant or the substation. Well, the reason is because you are, in fact, the face of our industry.”
Hammett said a minimum of 1,000 tags must be purchased before the state will produce the plates. Pre-commitment tags can be bought here.
Click on the “Individual Application” button, then choose the “Thank A Lineman” tag from the 6/1/2018 to 5/31/2019 time period. Click on the “Request Plate” button and submit your information and the $50 fee.
Hammett was joined by a chorus of people celebrating the efforts of linemen across the state.
“I’m a granddaughter of a lineman, so I can tell you exactly what it means when the storms start coming and the lights start flickering,” said state Rep. April Weaver, R-Shelby County. “It’s heroes like you that are going to be out braving the weather away from your families so that other families can continue with their activities of daily life.”
“While we do set aside today to thank the linemen and those first responders that make such a difference, I’m reminded of the thanks we get from the customers that the linemen help each and every day,” said Leslie Sanders, vice president of Alabama Power’s Southern Division.
All three members of the Public Service Commission (PSC) spoke, thanking the linemen for their service.
“I can tell you that there are a lot of children that are observing what you all do every day,” said PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh. “You all are a great example in our communities.”
PSC Commissioner Jeremy Oden said he remembered “when we were talking about making you into one of the first responders in the state of Alabama, and I’m glad that that happened. You work hard and I appreciate all that you do.”
PSC Commissioner Chris “Chip” Beeker told the audience that he worked full time on a fish and cattle farm before being elected to the PSC. “When you get a call at 2 a.m., you know it’s trouble, but when you see the lights blinking on the trucks, that’s Alabama Power. If you want to know how good it is to see that, you need to experience that.”
Britt Betts, a journeyman lineman for Troy Utilities, spoke on behalf of the linemen, talking about the brotherhood and passion for his work.
“I’ll never forget where my passion came from,” Betts said. “We were working a storm one afternoon and found a bad insulator and fixed it. Lineman asked, ‘Everybody clear? Coming hot,’ and all you saw was lights come on across the countryside, and that’s when my true passion started, right then that night.”
The EIA recognized two linemen from Baldwin EMC for outstanding service during Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in Florida last year.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the two linemen installed a life-saving generator to power the oxygen concentrator until electric service could be restored a few days later,” Hammett said. “Their actions likely prevented a medical emergency.”
The Alabama Legislature created Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day, which began in 2014 and is held on the first Monday of June each year.
To watch the entire event, see the video below.