'Keep the Lights On'

A new license plate that honors the efforts of North Carolina’s utility lineworkers will soon be available for purchase. (Contributed photo)

RALEIGH — A new specialty license plate honoring the efforts of North Carolina’s utility line workers to “Keep the Lights On” will soon be available to the state’s drivers.

The cost of the new plate will be $30, with $20 from each plate benefitting the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Heath Care.

The plate was developed by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives in partnership with Duke Energy and ElectriCities to pay tribute to the state’s line workers and other utility employees. The N.C. General Assembly recently passed legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper authorizing the new plate.

“Our line workers and other utility employees work day in and day out, at times in treacherous conditions, to provide an essential service to the people of North Carolina,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president and chief operating officer of association services for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives. “Recently, our state has been hit hard by storms, and these workers undertake heroic efforts to restore power as quickly as possible to our communities, often times traveling across the state and nation to assist other crews in times of need. We can’t thank them enough for all they do, and we’re proud to pay tribute to their expertise, professionalism and dedication.”

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are a long-time partner of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and have supported its work since 1972 when the cooperatives’ board of directors pledged $40,000 to help create the center. Over the years, the electric cooperatives, in partnership with more than 80 organizations and individuals, have donated more than $1.9 million to the center, helping it become one of the leading comprehensive burn centers in the world.

“We’re pleased that the proceeds from this new plate will help us further support the Burn Center and the critical services they provide,” Dale Lambert, CEO of Randolph EMC and a member of the center’s advisory board, said. “Despite industry-leading safety practices and precautions, our line workers face burn dangers on the job every day, and it’s especially fitting that this plate will contribute to such an outstanding facility in their honor.”

The new license plate will soon be added to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ list of specialty plates and available to all motor vehicles registered in North Carolina, except for vehicles for-hire, commercial plates exceeding 26,000 pounds, farm tags, taxis, state-owned vehicles or vehicles with orange and black plates.

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