Dominion Energy crews headed to Florida to help Irma victims

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Power crews all across the country, including in Hampton Roads, are heading to Florida to help restore power to storm victims.

Dominion Energy is sending more than 700 workers and contractors to the sunshine state to help in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The storm hit Florida as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, bringing strong storm surge, strong winds and heavy rains. Irma resulted in widespread flooding, damage and outages.

The US National Hurricane Center said late Monday that Irma had weakened to a tropical depression as it trekked further inland.

Battered Florida tries to assess scope of Irma’s destruction

Power crews left Tuesday morning for the drive south. Norfolk is about 600 miles from Florida.

“We are proud of their willingness to leave their families and friends to work long days, providing desperately needed help,” Senior Vice President of Power Delivery Ed Baine said.

Duane Boykin, Dominion’s Norfolk Operations Supervisor, said Tuesday, “I don’t think it’s daunting at all. These guys, these young men and women are prepared. I mean, we got one the best training facilities in the nation and these guys are ready.”

Dominion says the workers will stay for at least two weeks, working to turn back on electricity to customers. They’ll also be repairing downed power lines, replacing damaged equipment and removing trees and debris in the region.

“Anytime there’s a major storm like this we extend out hand to them and of course they send theirs to us as well,” Boykin said.

Florida officials say they plan to place crews in areas hit the hardest by Irma. As of Tuesday morning, more than three million customers in the state were still in the dark.

Dominion Energy is part of a mutual assistance group called the Southeastern Electric Exchange. The association of power companies plans in advance of impending storms to determine how much extra help they might need and which companies will respond.