The power plant's workers direct their lightning toward the tip of a machine, which absorbs the electricity and stores it within batteries. The electrical energy is channeled to the power lines surrounding the factory, which extend across the city and distribute power to its many boroughs.
At least six employees work in the machine room at a time. The workers do not generate electricity continuously, but periodically rest themselves for a brief moment before re-initiating another stream of lightning.
As a precautionary measure, employees cover their face with a metal mask when working, and are all clothed with a protective black chest plate over their white shirt. The laborers are notified of the end of their working hours by a whistle.
During AvatarAang's lifetime, lightning generation was not a common ability, and despite it becoming more common seventy years later, the skill is still held in high regard, earning the firebenders working in the power plant "decent money". However, in the game, Welcome to Republic City, working at the power plant is described as a "hard, thankless job [which] pays little", thus contradicting the statements given about it in the series.
Plant managers are often desperate to find new workers due to the taxing nature of lightning generation on a bender'schi reserves. As such, young men, like Mako, are sought out to work the grueling position.