More than three point three million homes and businesses — and counting — have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula. Fox 25/48’s Tajma Hall has more on how dozens of midwest workers are making a difference.
Fifty Xcel Energy crew members from five states in the midwest, including Wisconsin, are headed to Florida to help repair the damage Hurricane Irma has caused.
“We’ll help Tampa Electric restore their system. We’ll be putting up poles. We’ll be putting wires back up. We’ll be working closely with their crews and any other crews that they’ve brought in to basically put their system back up cause right now they have no power at all.”
Xcel Energy is part of the Edison Electric Institute’s mutual assistance program. When a major storm brings significant outages, electric companies from across the country will often partner in a volunteer effort to restore power.
“For us to be able to send our crews down there, it means the world because they’ve got a tremendous safety culture, a great work ethic that I think they’ll be a huge bonus to the people down there that are struggling. Midwest area crews are expected to work on power lines in Florida for up to two weeks.”
“It’s very likely that they could be down there longer but we would likely bring those guys back and relieve them with other crews if that’s the case.”
There are 25 of these utility trucks headed down to Florida and the crew members riding in them say that this trip is more than just a job.
“I’ll go down and do what I can to make things right. Such a terrible time for all these people down there. A terrible time that still holds much uncertainty.”
“There’s a little fear, a little doubt in everyone’s mind on what you’re going to run into and how bad it really is since the storm hasn’t finished anything yet. You’re just kind of in the dark until its done.”
“The guys have brought their own sleeping bags. I’m sure some of them have cots. We’ve loaded them up with Gatorade and water and jerky and sunflower seeds but other than that, I don’t think many of them know what to expect. Even in uncertainty, the goal for this crew remains to same; to help.”
“I think there’s still a lot of good in this world and I think this shows it.”
In Eau Claire, Tajma Hall, Fox 25/48 News At Nine.