Blue Ridge Energy line worker ranks among the fastest in N.C. at Pole Top Rescue Competition

LENOIR, NC (January 8, 2021) – Austin Story, a line technician at Blue Ridge Energy, ranked among the fastest in the state at the 2021 Pole Top Rescue Competition at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount.

This biennial event pits line workers against the clock and each other as they demonstrate essential lifesaving skills and the job knowledge required to maintain the lines that power the lives of electric cooperative member-consumers. To advance to this state championship competition, each competitor had to win a similar event at their local cooperative.

During the competition, each line worker executed a rescue scenario of retrieving an unconscious coworker from atop a utility pole. The competitor, dressed in full climbing gear, must radio for help, scale 20 feet up the utility pole, lower a 105-pound mannequin and begin lifesaving procedures. All North Carolina electric cooperative line workers must complete this same scenario in less than five minutes to maintain their certification to work on co-op lines.

Austin Story completed the scenario with a time of 2:15, placing in the top five of the competition. Story has worked with Blue Ridge Energy for four years; however, this was his fifth year participating in the statewide competition, as he formerly worked for EnergyUnited. Story works in Blue Ridge Energy’s Watauga district.

Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counites as well as parts of Wilkes, Avery, and Alexander counties. Its propane and fuels subsidiary serves customers in the cooperative’s service area as well as Burke and, Catawba counties and Grayson County, Va.  For more information, visit

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