Local Utility Crews Send More Help for Irma Damage

WASHINGTON — As millions in Florida wait for their electricity to come back on after Hurricane Irma battered the region and caused widespread outages, utility crews from around the country are heading to the state to help with what will likely be one of the largest power restoration efforts in the nation’s history.

Power companies from the D.C. metropolitan area have been sending employees to assist, and Dominion Energy said it is contributing more resources to the effort this week.

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

The group that Dominion is sending Tuesday includes more than 120 employees such as linemen, damage assessors and safety experts. They will join 300 contractors from Virginia and North Carolina who will help hundreds of other contractors already in Florida removing trees and debris.

Dominion said its employees will operate under the authority of the local Florida utility companies.

“We’ll take our instructions from them and they will tell us exactly what they want us to do,” said Dominion spokesman Chuck Penn. “There will be tons of equipment, and they will just go from there and start the restoration.”

Hundreds of other utility crew members from the D.C. area have already been sent to Florida, Georgia and wherever else they are needed.

Baltimore Gas and Electric sent roughly 200 employees as part of the 1,800 or so team that its parent company, Exelon, brought in to assist. Sister utilities Pepco and Delmarva Power also sent employees as part of the Exelon contingent.

“Our crews will follow direction,” said BGE spokeswoman Linda Foy. “They just go in and they start rebuilding the electric system, doing whatever is required to get customers in that area back in service.”

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