Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lineman competition honors Easley, Greenwood and Laurens utility workers

Linemen who work for the state's municipal electric utilities participated in an annual training and competition hosted by the South Carolina Association of Municipal Power Systems  on April 18 and 19. April 18 was National Lineman Appreciation Day. SCAMPS is an affiliate organization of the Municipal Association.

Fourteen of the 21 SCAMPS members attended the training, and 11 utilities competed in events, such as the crossarm changeout, knot tying, hurtman rescue, speed climbing and others. The events are timed and judged on how well participants follow proper procedures.

Easley Combined Utilities took nine first place awards while Greenwood Commission of Public Works received two and Laurens Commission of Public Works received one. Get the full list of awards here.

"Through this competition, we are promoting safe work habits and proper procedures," said Eric Budds, deputy executive director for the Municipal Association.

"This also supports one of SCAMPS' core missions of providing mutual aid during times of disaster. The linemen have a chance to get to know one another before they have to work together under post-emergency conditions."

SCAMPS member utilities not only provide mutual aid for in-state emergencies, but they also work with utilities around the southeast when disaster strikes. Read this Uptown article to learn more about how SCAMPS members in Rock Hill and Orangeburg lent a hand in other states last fall.

Municipal power systems can offer distinct benefits to cities and their residents — from the power of teamwork after a storm to lower rates to economic development support. In South Carolina, 170,000 residential and business customers in 21 cities and towns receive their power from municipal power systems, which range in size from 360 to 37,000 customers. All 21 municipal power systems are members of SCAMPS.

In municipalities operating power systems in South Carolina, the voters in the city elect the council or governing board responsible for operating the electric utility. Because of the local nature of municipal power systems, customers get quick responses to issues. And since public power utilities operate under the state's open government laws, customers can bring any opinions or concerns to an open meeting of the municipal council or governing board.

Teams participate in the crossarm changeout competition. Each event is timed and judged using specific guidelines. Participants can receive infractions for improper use of tools and failing to follow safety protocols.

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