This is a tough Labor Day for two Alabama families whose young men died while restoring power after Hurricane Ida. The deaths happened Tuesday. The men worked for North Carolina-based Pike Electric. Pike does engineering, construction, maintenance, and upgrades of power transmission, distribution, and substation infrastructure. It is a well-known 75-year-old company.

Lineworkers Eli Babb and Layton Ellison were both 19 years old. They died while working in Adger, Alabama.

We note this sad news as a reminder that for all the debates about energy policy and power technology that the utility industry is about people. Lineworkers put themselves in difficult situations to ensure that citizens have electricity.

Power is much more than a convenience. Power is a lifeline – it energizes hospitals, firehouses, and police stations; it runs oxygen machinery for the bedridden and charges wheelchairs for the disabled.

This Labor Day we encourage people to take time to think about those who are restoring power in the many states affected by recent storms and natural disasters, and especially the families in Alabama who now work through a difficult time of their own.

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Coverage of the lineworkers is from this Alabama TV station.