Dominion Va. Power crews work on dangerous energized power lines

Posted at 11:58 PM, Apr 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-10 23:58:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- What you've probably never seen are the Dominion Virginia Power workers repairing lines that are still energized. They risk their lives to do it saying they want to make sure you get to keep your lights on.

If you’ve ever seen a crew doing line work, it is just as dangerous as it looks.

"You've still got to respect it," said Tim Bailey of Dominion Virginia Power.

And make no mistake -- it can be deadly.

"That bark says, I'll kill you if you make a mistake," Bailey explained.

Dominion Power

The high power transmission lines the crews work on carry up to 500,000 kilovolts to sub-stations across Virginia and that high voltage electricity is still running through the lines when these elite groups go to work.

Cutting it off would leave thousands of homes in the dark.

"These linemen here are actually becoming one with the same voltage," said Joe Love of Dominion Virginia Power.

One key to their safety – is to never taking safety for granted.

"Look before you touch, verify equipment, grounds and neutrals are in tack."

"It's the guys on the ground, looking at the boom, looking at how close are you to the next phase," explained Bailey.

"And the other guy with you in the bucket, he's you're extra set of eyes too and you're extra set of eyes," adds Brandon Robertson.

What's also unique about transmission line workers is they have to do their job 70 to 180 feet in the air.

They're called bare-handers because after attaching or bonding with the high voltage wire, special suits allow them to use their hands to get the job done.

"When you bond on, you hear a humming sound, around the suit, and you really don't feel anything, it just sounds very loud when you bond on," said Robertson.

With an intense and dangerous job some chose not to work when home.

"I don't bring my work home -- I try not to talk about what I do,” Bailey said.

"I talk about my job, but I don't go into great detail,” Robertson said.

And going home goes back to one thing.

Part of being safe everyday is working with the same people.

These high voltage wranglers say that they are like family and they trust each other -- because they know that their lives are in each other’s hands.