Viewfinder:Vidalia linemen maintain, repair city electrical linesPublished 12:08am Tuesday, September 10, 2013
NATCHEZ — Without men such as Jason Tyson, Vidalia residents would quite literally be in the dark.
Tyson, a lineman with Vidalia Utilities, usually remains unknown and underappreciated, until the worst happens. He, along with six other employees, maintain and repair the electrical lines for more than 3,000 customers in the city of Vidalia.
The seven crew members have no typical day, said Tyson, but cutting limbs, repairing damaged lines and equipment, and responding to power outages are a few of their duties.
That variety is what keeps Tyson interested in his work, he said.
“I like the freedom,” said Tyson. “I’m never doing the same thing every day.”
Some of that freedom comes from the quality with which they maintain the electrical lines, Tyson said.
“It allows us to help out in the community and do things that aren’t a typical lineman’s job,” he said.
That, along with quicker response times to power outages and more personal attention are some of the benefits to having an electric company owned by the city, Tyson said.
“Some of these bigger electric companies, you may have to wait hours and days to get your lights back on,” said Tyson. “The people in the city limits of Vidalia may wait an hour at most, and they’ve got power back.”
Mental focus is imperative as a lineman, as well as thinking ahead, he said.
“You can’t just think about what you’re doing right now, you have to think about what you’re doing five steps from now,” he said. “That one wrong move and you’re not going home that night.”
Hours of work, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, can go into restoring power to an affected area.
“There’s a lot more to it than walking over to the wall and flipping a switch,” he said.