Did your power go out during Hurricane Sandy? Meet one of the lineman responsible for turning it back on, Simon Benjamin of Canton. Benjamin, 28, lives on Decker Ave. He attended technical high school and has been working in electrical services since 2002. He has been working for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company for the last four-and-a-half years. Benjamin is currently in BGE’s service operator trainee program.
Baltimore Guide: Can you give an overview of your work schedule during Hurricane Sandy?
Simon: Starting on Sunday [Oct. 28], I started working 12 hour shifts. We worked 12 hours from Sunday through Friday, and then came in Saturday for a last-minute cleanup call.
What kind of work did you do during the storm?
My job is mainly to be a first responder. We surveyed damages and system problems. If it was something we could handle at that time, we fixed it, but we just had a single bucket. For bigger jobs, we called in construction, and two or three crews came in.
Was the work exciting?
Storm work is my favorite part of the job sometimes—it’s more rewarding. It gives me a sense of helping people when they’re in need of help; I can do something that most people can’t do.
[In a storm] my senses get heightened and I’m more focused on what I’m doing. I pay close attention to restoring service in a reasonable time.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
Sometimes it’s helping some customers understand the process. There can be a disconnect when some customers in one area get restored power before customers in another area. It becomes a challenge when you’re out there and you have customers trying to ask you questions and reference. You’re trying to do your work, keep them safe, and keep the whole neighborhood safe.
Have you worked in storms before?
During my very short time with the company, I would say yes. I’ve been [with BGE] four-and-a-half years, and I’ve worked two very bad blizzards. I also went out of town to help Connecticut’s utilities [during last year’s October blizzard in the Northeast].
by Erik Zygmont