Local Hydro Workers Head To Florida To Help In Relief Efforts

A crew from Essex Powerlines left Wednesday morning to join in relief efforts in Florida which were damaged by Hurricane Irma.

They will be helping Tampa Electric to restore power to thousands of homes and businesses. 

There are currently seven million homes and businesses without power across the state.

Two linesmen from Essex Powerlines joined a convoy from other utilities in Chatham, St. Thomas and Erie-Thames to help out.

"Ourselves, Entegrus, St. Thomas, Erie-Thames, we all gathered together, we offered our help and assistance to utilities in Florida called Tampa Electric and they accepted our offer and we set up a convoy and there were about 16 linemen, about 5-6 trucks," says Essex Powerlines Manager of Operations Dan Charron.

Charron says the host utility will set up a camp if necessary to accommodate the workers. "They will set it up with running water and temporary power, wherever they can get power, and they will get local motels and hotels set up."

He admits it is hard work

"It is quite a commitment," he says. "They work 16 hour days and seven days a week so it is a lot of work and they have to leave family and you are in a tough environment."

The local crew will be gone for about two weeks.

Essex Powerlines has also helped in previous natural disasters including traveling to Louisiana and Texas to help after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.