300 National Grid employees heading down to Florida to help with Hurricane Irma recovery

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Some six million people are still without power in Florida on Tuesday.

National Grid is sending hundreds of their employees down south to help with the restoration process.

A convoy of 40 workers in 15 bucket trucks hit the road bright and early Tuesday morning.

“We’re going to drive for about 11 hours we’ll stay over in Roanoke, Virginia and then we’ll head down for the next leg of the journey. We plan on getting to Tampa by Thursday morning,” Michael Peters, Overhead Lineman Manager at National Grid, said.

Peters has worked for National Grid for nearly four decades.

While this isn’t his first catastrophic storm restoration project, he expects it will be the most destruction he’s ever dealt with.

In fact, according to National Grid, this is one of the largest industry restoration efforts in U.S. history.

“Overall we have 300 hundred employees going down there throughout the U.S. from Massachusetts to Buffalo,” Patrick Stella, a Spokesperson for National Grid, said. “So basically the same scenario we are seeing here is taking place in a couple of different cities around upstate New York and Massachusetts and they’re all headed down.”

These men and women will have their work cut out for them as they’ll be working at least 16 hours a day for a minimum of two weeks.

“We expect to find a lot of tree damage, a lot of broken poles, a lot of wires down,” Peters said.

While they’re getting paid for the work they’ll be doing, they all volunteered to leave home.

“When they get down there, a lot of the hotels don’t have power, they don’t know what kind of situation they’ll be in they could be in cots and make shift area,” Stella said. “So, it’s going to be hard work long days and they’re going to be away from their families.”

Peters says the need is tremendous and he’s happy to help.

“You get down there and the people are in distress,” Peters said. “They don’t have lights and when you flip that switch and turn the lights back on and see the smiling faces, it’s a great feeling.”

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