PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Utility workers from the Philadelphia area are headed south to help energy companies in Florida restore electric and gas service to customers following Hurricane Irma.
More than one million electric customers in 24 counties were without power Sunday morning as Irma slammed into the Florida Keys.
Line workers, safety personnel and mechanics from PSE&G, Atlantic City Electric and PECO are on their way to Florida to help restore the power.
PECO has sent 50 employees and 150 contractors to assist Florida utility companies. Spokesman Greg Smore says it’s part of a mutual agreement that PECO has with regional companies.
“We’ve sent hundreds of crews in the past and we have also received crews for storms such as Superstorm Sandy, as well as in 2014 during the ice storm Nika,” Smore said. “It’s a very unique situation in the industry, where utilities will rely on outside crews to help support restoration efforts after a severe storm.”
He says their 30-vehicle caravan will work out of a central hub, directed on where to work by a Florida utility company.
Atlantic City Electric and PSE&G have also sent about 200 workers.
“The utility industry is somewhat unique in that we help each other,” said John Latka, PSE&G senior vice president of electric and gas operations. “We are fortunate to be in a position to assist FPL in restoring electric service as safely and quickly as possible.”
Crews are expected to arrive in affected areas by late Monday and are projected to stay three to four weeks.