Hydro One, Toronto Hydro sending crews to Florida

Over 1.6 million in Florida lose power from Irma utility says

Pic Courtesy Reuters

Hydro One said Sunday night that it would send 175 employees to Florida after receiving a request for help from Florida Power and Light.

More: Hurricane Irma: What's happening in Pensacola Monday?

Toronto Hydro said Monday that 30 of its employees will depart for Florida on Tuesday morning following a request for assistance from Tampa Electric this afternoon.

"We'll take our instructions from them and they will tell us exactly what they want us to do", said Dominion spokesman Chuck Penn. Hydro One's highly skilled employees are trained to work on both transmission and distribution systems as well as in storm and emergency situations, making them incredibly valuable resources during a devastating hurricane.

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"Access to electricity can be a lifeline in a disaster and our crews are determined to help restore power to the families and businesses in Florida as quickly and safely as possible", Greg Kiraly, Chief Operating Officer of Hydro One, said in a statement on Monday. Hydro One Incorporated out of Ontario saw an opportunity to help.

Toronto Hydro is part of the North Atlantic Mutual Assistance Group, electrical utilities that agree to share resources with other members and related associations in case of emergency.

"As part of this partnership, Gulf Power line crews provide assistance to other utilities when service to their customers is interrupted due to severe weather, and have traveled as far away as NY to assist with restoration following Superstorm Sandy", said Rogers.

Toronto Hydro says it is bringing bucket trucks to Florida to help with restoration efforts. Crews have deployed more than 36 times since 2008 to help other energy companies restore power to their customers.

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In the past, the utility has sent crews to Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Vermont, Washington, DC, and the Carolinas. Up to 20,000 Gulf Power customers could lose power from the storm.

It will be one of the largest electric restoration efforts in USA history. In 2012, 225 Hydro One employees travelled to Long Island, N.Y., to help out with Hurricane Sandy.

At least 12 million people in Florida are without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

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