This past Christmas brought a blast of cold winter weather like we haven’t seen in several years. As we’ve come to expect when that kind of weather hits, people worked tirelessly across much of the country to keep the lights on and to restore power where and when it was lost.
Planners, engineers, and system operators worked diligently day and night to address frozen equipment and fuel supply shortages and to make needed adjustments to meet the high demand for electricity. Power plant employees worked around the clock to keep their plants running while wind chills dipped down near 40 below zero, creating challenges to keep critical equipment operating.
The high winds resulted in scattered power outages and broken power lines across Ohio and the entire Midwest and created brutal and dangerous working conditions for lineworkers tasked with making repairs to restore needed electric service.
As our electric system was stretched to its limits (once again), the market price of electricity exploded to 50 times its normal level. It was difficult to come to terms with that skyrocketing expense.
Tragically, however, money was not the highest cost. One young lineworker, Blake Rodgers, lost his life while working to restore electric service to members of Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative in southern Ohio.
Like nearly all of you, I did not know and never met Blake Rodgers. We can only pray for, and offer condolences to, his family and friends who will miss him the rest of their time on Earth. And we can honor the service and sacrifice of electric cooperative employees everywhere who work to provide this most essential and life-sustaining service to our homes and businesses. Thanks to all of them.
And God bless Blake Rodgers. May he rest in peace.