Five Decades of Restoring Service

February 21, 2018

Express Service Technician Cecil Barnes started his career with Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) in 1967. His first job was in the Transmission Department, but he switched to Distribution a few years later. “I quickly discovered that 40-foot poles are easier to climb than 65- or 75-foot poles,” he says with a chuckle.

While reflecting on his more than 50 years of service, Cecil says that the fundamentals of being a utility worker have not changed much since the industry’s inception in the late 1800s. “We dig a hole, set a pole, and then hang wires from it,” he explains. “What keeps the work interesting is that each job presents its own unique challenges, from working in different weather conditions to navigating various types of terrain.”

Cecil has been in his current position for 20 years, and he has worked with a lot of great people along the way. In addition to the relationships he’s formed with coworkers, the most rewarding part of his career has been the appreciation he receives from customers after restoring their electric service.

“It’s nice to get thanked by adults, but it’s even more special when you get thanked by a kid,” says Cecil. “When a child runs up to you and is grateful that the TV is back on or they can once again play their favorite video game, they really mean it.”

Speaking of appreciation, John Contos, manager, Operations Services, is thankful to have Cecil on his team. “I’m lucky to have a great group of troublemen working for me, and Cecil is one of the best,” says John. “He is the first person to let me know if there is an issue in the field, and he’s maintained a good safety record throughout his career. I count on Cecil to help mentor new employees to make sure their careers get started on the right path.”