A convoy of 26 vehicles, including bucket trucks, departed from CPS Energy’s Eastside Service Center, 4919 E. Houston St., on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
The team in the convoy includes a dozen linemen, 18 line trainees and 6 line foremen, along with construction managers, digger operators and other support personnel.
The crews will travel 1,550 miles over the next three days to Richmond, splitting the trip into 500-mile increments.
On Friday, they anticipate reporting to a staging center where they will receive infrastructure details, safety reports, and location assignments from Dominion Power to begin repairing storm-damaged infrastructure and restoring power.
"We have done a lot of storm relief efforts across the South from Louisiana to Florida, but this will be our first venture this far north," said construction manager Eric Fassett, who will serve as one of two storm team leaders. "Getting prepared for the cold is one of our biggest challenges, so we have winter gear and have winterized the trucks. The other challenge will be finding enough fuel along the route for all of our vehicles."
Initial plans call for CPS Energy crews to assist on the East Coast for 10 to 14 days. However, the damage will be assessed to determine the needs to restore power to Dominion’s affected customers.
Hurricane Sandy marks the sixth hurricane response by CPS Energy crews since 2005.
In 2008, crews participated in restoration efforts for their fellow Texans and neighbors in Louisiana following hurricanes Ike, Gustav and Dolly.
Three years prior, Hurricane Katrina prompted power restoration efforts in storm-ravaged Louisiana, followed by Hurricane Rita again in Texas.
Previously, CPS Energy had assisted communities in Florida and Alabama during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season.