Consumers Energy crews heading into path of hurricane to restore power


JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — While everyone watches what happens in Florida, local utility crews are already taking action and responding to areas that could see devastation.

When a hurricane happens, people usually try to stay away from it.

But not brave crews from Consumers Energy, who are heading right into the path of Hurricane Irma.

The workers are driving down south to make sure homes get the power they need.

“I do get some satisfaction out of that, and I know our crews do too,” said Daniel Hishcke, a Consumers worker going to Florida.

With Hurricane Irma setting her sights on the United States, more than 200 Consumers Energy employees from across Michigan are going to Florida to help restore power.

Consumers is part of a nationwide group of utility companies that provides assistance when there’s a disaster.

“The resources in the southeast are pretty well tapped for this event,” said Greg Salisbury, Vice President of Operations Performance at Consumers Energy.

Thursday afternoon, dozens of workers launched from Jackson after preparing for what could be days of hard work.

“They’ll respond and be dispatched to downed wires, broken poles, and potentially substation activities that require the skills and abilities that these guys are certified and ready to work in,” said Salisbury.

Some employees are going with first-hand hurricane experience.

“I was able to travel for Hurricane Irene in New York.  It was a very humbling experience to see the devastation, and to know that we’re there to get the power back on. It’s a rewarding feeling for me,” said Darrell Browning, a Consumers worker going to Florida.

And while they are heading into the great unknown, crews say they’re trained to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

“We’re going to be staged and be in position to respond after the weather goes through, because they’re not exactly sure where and what it’s going to damage at this point,” Hischke said.

Right now there’s no timeline for when crews will return.

Consumers Energy says they’ll stay down in Florida as long as they’re needed.

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