CPS Energy workers leave for Florida to restore electricity after Irma

Workers could be gone for as long as 21 days

By Josh Skurnik - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Dozens of CPS Energy workers left early Wednesday morning for Florida to restore power to some of the millions of people affected by Hurricane Irma.

Facing treacherous conditions and long days, workers said they know all too well what's at stake.

Twenty-eight trucks were prepared for the long haul, with 58 workers expecting to be in Florida for one to two weeks, maybe as long as 21 days, to get the job done.

Related: CPS crews return home after 9-day mission on coast

The trip will be Steven Cansino's first disaster deployment after being with the company for six and a half years. Cansino will miss his son's 10th birthday.

"I don't know what we're going to see," he said. "You know, we just know what's on the news. They don't show us the power lines, we just know everything is underwater."

Mechanics, overhead linemen, managers and safety workers volunteered to be a glimmer of hope to the 200,000 Jacksonville, Florida, residents who are without power.

The first leg of their trip, about 600 miles, should take about 15 hours to get to Moss Point, Mississippi.

The convoy plans to wake up Thursday and go another six hours to their destination.

Although the route is planned, the trip is full of unknowns.

Related: CPS Energy's 'Big Blue Bus' to help people near and far

After two decades with the utility company, Chad Tenborg has worked in the wake of an ice storm in Oklahoma and multiple hurricanes, including Katrina.

Tenborg will miss he and his wife's 14th anniversary to go help.

"(I've) just seen a lot of stuff that you never think Mother Nature can do to tear people's houses apart and lives apart," Tenborg said. "Watching out for alligators and snakes, they're saying, so just be safe and come back home to our families."

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