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Life Doesn’t Stop

 

The cold weather and snow covering my yard reminds me that winter is here. It can be difficult, in these days of quarantine and social distance, to tell one day from the next. Thankfully, we have the weather to keep us straight.

As the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast dig out from this monstrous storm—our colleague Brett Kilbourne reports that in New Jersey, some areas saw more than two feet of snow!—I am reminded once again about the incredible work our members do day in and day out. Each season brings its own challenges, whether it is hurricanes in the late summer through the fall, severe rain and tornadoes in the spring, and blizzards and heavy wind in the winter.

For our industry, there truly is never a break. Utility workers, especially those on the front lines responding to storms and other disasters, are always on guard, ready and willing to jump in and restore service as quickly and safely as possible. I don’t think I can say it enough—Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to those who keep the lights on and water flowing. You are public servants.

Most readers of this blog know that I am a proud mom of three girls. So therefore I know as well as anyone how some days, the hits just keep coming. One of the solaces I’ve taken during the last year of working and learning remotely is to take a long drive. These drives not only get me out of the house, but they also give me a chance to reflect on what’s going on, both personally and professionally.

I didn’t realize just how much I needed these reflection times until the snow and ice descended upon the Washington area. I wasn’t able to get out the house for days! So for much of the last week, I’ve been unable to get out of the house and take some “me” time to reflect and recharge my batteries.

Believe me, I know this is trivial compared to what so many others are facing with as the pandemic continues and the height of winter is upon us. But it made me think about how so many of us take certain things for granted, like my long drives.

Taking this broader a broader level, I still believe the general public does not truly appreciate all the work and sacrifice that our members do each and every day to power our lives. I am saddened that so many of our utility workers have not received a COVID-19 vaccination. I hear from members from across the sector—investor-owned, cooperative, and public power—that have men and women in the field, putting their health and safety at risk. Restoring and repairing utility infrastructure can be a dangerous job on the best of days, but when you add the pandemic, it becomes so much more so.

At UTC, I am making sure we are plugged into the various industry and government efforts to get utility workers vaccinated. I am pleased to see the progress in a number of states—Texas, Michigan, Arizona, for example—that have placed certain utility workers atop their priority lists. My staff is reaching out to our fellow trade associations and government officials to offer our support for these efforts.

As many of you know, I’ve worked in the healthcare industry. I know how difficult these jobs are, and I do not envy those putting together vaccination plans for their states. My goal is to help ensure that we take care of the people who have kept the electricity on during these most trying times. I look forward to working with my colleagues at other associations and elsewhere to make this happen.

Now, with the snow melting, it’s time for me to get back out on the road!

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