CPS Energy crews head to Virginia after Sandy leaves millions without power

About 50 CPS employees headed to Richmond, contracted before Sandy hit East Coast


SAN ANTONIO – A total of 51 CPS Energy employees are headed to Richmond, Va., to help millions left without power in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy's landfall.

CPS crews departed San Antonio Tuesday morning with a convoy of 26 vehicles and line trucks.

Six foremen, 12 linemen and 19 trainees are among the employees planning to assist with power restoration.

"It's all on a voluntary basis. We go down the list and try to distribute the work fairly and evenly," Rick Maldonado, director of reliability and outside services for CPS, said. "We have a waiting list."

Dominion Power contracted CPS Energy last weekend to ask for assistance in Virginia in anticipation of the storm.

"It's a good feeling to go help people out like that when they're in need. I mean, we do it here all the time in San Antonio. We run around the clock here helping people out during storms," Harley Popham, a lineman for CPS said.

Just getting the convoy of trucks is a big job for CPS. The 1,500-mile trip will take three days.

"It's a nightmare to fuel them. Stopping for fuel usually takes 45 minutes to an hour. We can usually only make it four to five hours," Eric Fassett, construction manager for CPS, said.

Garry Armstrong has been on every hurricane-related request for assistance since 2005. But he expects this trip to be different.

"I (have never) been in cold weather like that, so I might get frost-bit somewhere," he said.

Millions of people along the East Coast were without power as of Tuesday morning. Power restoration is expected to take up to two weeks.


For a list of recent stories Jenna Hiller has done, click here.