NOVA linemen headed to Florida to help return power

Hundreds of workers from Virginia’s Dominion Energy company are heading south, ready to splice and rehang power cables brought down by Hurricane Irma.

Convoys of power company trucks, carrying more than 750 linemen and other power workers, left from several Virginia locations early Tuesday morning.

More than 120 Dominion Energy employees, including linemen, damage assessors, safety experts and others are heading south along with 300 contractors from across Virginia and North Carolina. They will join the other 300 tree contractors working to begin the preliminary task of removing trees and debris ahead of line crews.

“Our employees and contractors are heading south with the expectation that they will be restoring power for at least two weeks,” according to Dominion Power Senior Vice-President Ed Baine. “We are proud of their willingness to leave their families and friends to work long days, providing desperately needed help.”

Reports put the number of homes and businesses in Florida that are without power at more than 6.5 million. That equals about 13 million people. Hundreds of thousands more are in the dark in Georgia and South Carolina.

Some people in Florida began to see power return today. Others, utility officials say, may have to wait weeks. That state’s largest utility, FPL, says it hops that it can restore power to Florida’s east coast by this weekend and to the Gulf coast by Sept 22.

Says Tom Kuhn, President of the industry group Edison Electric Institute, “This is likely to be one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in U.S. history.”

The group from Virginia joins a total of some 50,000 electric company workers from across the U.S. and Canada. Mutual assistance from neighboring utilities is standard in the electric utility industry. It can include not only crews but also other resources and equipment, such as helicopters and drones, high-water vehicles.

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Ed Tobias
Ed Tobias brings more than four decades of reporting and news management experience to his work at FairfaxNews. Tobias managed news coverage for Associated Press Radio for over twenty years.  This included coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Princess Diana, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters and national election primaries, conventions and campaigns.  He was part of the team that built AP’s on-line video operation. Prior to joining AP, Tobias was News Director at all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C. He has won two Ohio State Awards for his reporting and producing and he led coverage that won an Edward R. Murrow Award.