Detroit — Michigan utilities are sending hundreds of workers to Florida so they’re ready to assist with power restorations when Hurricane Irma hits the state.

“We’re energized to go down there, we really want to go down there and help out and hopefully, get the lights back on for (Florida Light & Power’s) customers,” Brian Calka, director of field operations for DTE Energy's electric division, said in a video the company tweeted Thursday.

DTE Energy is sending roughly 300 line workers plus 100 tree trimmers. They’re expected to reach northern Florida by Friday afternoon, where they’ll be on standby until needed.

“For the majority of these guys, it’s about going down there to help,” Calka said. “The people who go down there ... go voluntarily ... they really want to make a difference and get people’s lights back on as soon as they possibly can.”

More than 200 Consumers Energy employees and contract personnel are headed from Michigan to Florida to assist local electric companies preparing for the hurricane. They’re also expected to arrive on Friday and could remain in Florida for up to two weeks.

“We are ready and willing to assist our colleagues in Florida as they prepare for this historic hurricane,” Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric energy operations, said in a statement Thursday. “In the past, we were fortunate to be supported by out-of-state crews following major storms, and with fair weather here in Michigan, this is an opportunity for us to return the favor to our fellow line workers.”

Michigan utilities often get help from out-of-state crews during major outages. During a storm in July, for example, crews from four states assisted Consumers Energy in its restoration work.

Associated Press contributed


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