Utility crews from Long Island head to Florida for Irma recovery

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Utility crews from Long Island head to Florida for Irma recovery
Candace McCowan has the details on the local utility crews heading to Florida.

ROSLYN HEIGHTS, Long Island (WABC) -- With millions of people without power in Florida after Hurricane Irma, local power crews are heading south to help.

Officials say 169 employees and contractors from PSEG gathered Tuesday morning in Roslyn Heights, Long Island, before heading to Florida to help restore power to those left in the dark.

The PSEG Long Island-led contingent will join the 300 PSEG Long Island contractors that traveled south last week in preparation for Irma making landfall, the company said.

"We are going to go into a little bit of devastation, trees down, wires down, we are hoping the travel on the way down goes smoothly," said Mike McLaughlin, of PSEG.

There is plenty of work to be done. As the crews were leaving Tuesday, 8 million people across the South were without power.

"Down here from what I've seen on TV it's a lot of flooding so that's something different we probably have to encounter," said John Franciosa, of PSEG.

Video showed transformerse blowing and downed trees on power lines. Franciosa, an overhead line supervisor, knows there are long days ahead.

"For the time frame they've given us this will be the biggest storm experience I've been on, normally we are a couple days in the New England area," he said.

The crews are expected to be in Florida for several weeks, helping repair the damage to the state's power infrastructure caused by the hurricane.

The crews say they remember the generosity shown to them in the past and are happy to return the favor.

"We are kind of excited about paying back some of the utilities that helped us during Superstorm Sanday in 2012," said McLaughlin.

And they know from the past trips, they'll find smiling faces once they get there.

"Normally when we get there, they're normally happy to see people with bucket trucks," said Franciosa. "People like their electricity so I guess they see a light at the end of the tunnel kind of thing."