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.
— Bonita Harris (@BonitaDomEnergy) September 12, 2017
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.