Local National Grid Crews heading south to help with Irma relief efforts

National Grid crews from the Capital Region heading to assist with Irma recovery efforts (WRGB)

NEW BALTIMORE, NY (WRGB) - Millions of people are without power in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama after Irma swept through the south.

Now, National Grid is sending crews down to help clean up and fix the power problems.

In total, National Grid will send about 300 employees and 100 vehicles from Boston to Buffalo down south.

Of that group, 10 bucket trucks and 40 employees are from the Capital Region. They'll head to Tampa, Florida and are expected to arrive on Wednesday.

Other crews will be dispersed across other parts of Florida and other states in need.

Dean Seavers, President of National Grid US released a statement Monday and said: "As part of the industry's Mutual Assistance Network, we are proud to support our friends at Duke Energy and Tampa Electric. With nearly six million Floridian without power as of this {Monday} morning, we know the task ahead will not be easy. The complexity of power restoration after a catastrophic storm requires significant logistical expertise, along with skilled line workers, and specialized equipment."

The Capital Region crew gathered and left from the New Baltimore Rest Area off the NYS Thruway, around 7:45am Tuesday.

National Grid Spokesperson Patrick Stella said when they got the call for help from the southern utility companies, National Grid knew they had to help.

"The crews are gonna be doing what they always do, really just restoring power, getting the power back on, putting in new poles, putting in new wire and all of that stuff," Stella said. "It's just the volume will be a lot larger than they're use to."

Employee Mike Peters said he has helped after storms before, and is always willing to help. After Hurricane Sandy in Long Island, he has an idea of what to expect in Florida after Irma.

"They told us to expect flooding, they told us to expect a lot of trees down and tree damage, a lot of broken poles, and wires down." Peters said.

Peters says he knows the days will be long, and the conditions will be rough, but he said the work is worth it.

"You get down there and people are in distress and they don't have lights, and when you flip that switch and you turn the lights back on, and you see the smiling faces, it's a great feeling."

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