The Electrical Worker online
July 2019

From the Officers
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Leading on Energy

For more than 125 years, IBEW members like you have powered our two nations, lighting up homes, schools, businesses and hospitals and transforming the face of North America.

We did this because we've never sat still and taken things for granted. We've embraced new technologies in the energy sector as they've come, and that's no different today.

In these pages, you'll read about the billions of dollars of work your sisters and brothers are performing — especially in the western U.S. — helping to transform the energy industry by installing battery storage at a scale we've never seen before.

In parts of the U.S. and Canada, abundant sun and wind means this work makes a lot of sense, and the clean energy transition is creating thousands and thousands of high-paying IBEW jobs.

In some places, though, the transition has meant pain and hardship for workers and communities — including many of you.

The economics of the energy industry are often beyond our control, but at the IBEW, we represent power professionals in every corner of our two nations.

We continue to believe in and advocate for a diverse, balanced and reliable energy portfolio — one that includes renewables like solar, wind and hydro, and also one that taps into our rich supply of natural gas as a lower-carbon emitting alternative.

At the same time, we are committed to maintaining a secure baseload energy supply, and that means that coal and nuclear must be a part of the mix for the immediate future. A reliable energy grid requires a secure, consistent supply of power, and our members provide that each and every day.

For years, we've pressed for a truly comprehensive energy policy in the U.S. that acknowledges climate reality and protects workers, and we continue to do that. We've also insisted that the very first requirement be that the hardworking men and women who make up our energy workforce are at the table.

That happened in Canada recently, where the IBEW was an integral part of the task force charged with recommending an equitable transition for workers and communities affected by the nation's move away from coal.

Some communities and workers will still feel the pain of that decision by the government, but we're hopeful that policies put in place now — policies that we had a voice in — will ensure a reasonable path forward for the working people affected.

It's the least we expect from our politicians, that they take the time to listen to those of us who do the work day in and day out and that our expertise is part of any path forward for the industry.

In the meantime, we'll be doing what we've always done at the IBEW: turning out the best-trained, most professional electrical workers in North America and doing our all to keep the lights on.


Also: Cooper: Working Safe in Summer Heat Read Cooper's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President