When the light switch is flipped on, most people don’t realize what it takes to keep the lights on - from power plants to the transmission infrastructure and the linemen who climb power poles to fix the wires.

It’s a dangerous job and only they understand what it takes to risk their lives on the line every day. Many times their lives are literally in the hands of their fellow line workers.

The training is fittingly comprehensive. Becoming a lineman can take anywhere from four to six years to complete.

“One of a lineman’s most important roles is training,” Duke Energy trainer, Jason O’Brien said. “A good lineman is always learning and continues to teach groundmen and apprentices, who are training to become linemen, to be successful and safe.”

Linemen are the face of Duke Energy for many customers. Customer care training is also a vital aspect of the entire process and is conducted both in a formal setting and while employees are working on the job. Trainees develop customer interaction skills and learn how to de-escalate situations and how to effectively communicate customers.

Being a lineman is also often a family business. There are countless brother, son, father and grandfather duos and trios who have followed in the footsteps of their family members – truly making it a legacy industry.

Meanwhile, the families of linemen know the commitment and sacrifices all too well. Nancy Dodd is a senior administrative specialist with Duke Energy Florida, and her husband is a lineman with us, too. “When there are customers in the dark, he doesn’t hesitate to take the call,” she said. “Whether we are sitting down for a family holiday or going to one of our children’s games, he’s always told me the same thing: ‘It’s my job to keep the lights on 24/7.’ So many people depend on him besides our family, but they don’t realize the potentially deadly conditions that he and his brothers and sisters deal with on a daily basis − every time they jump in the front seat of that bucket truck.”

Lineman work 365 days a year 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep the lights on. Their work is often done in the worst weather. You’ll notice a common theme when talking to linemen: It’s not just a career; it’s a way of life that creates an incredible bond among them.

“The part of this job I enjoy the most is the sense of brotherhood I feel with my fellow linemen,” said Ivan White, construction and maintenance supervisor with Duke Energy Florida.