LIBN: Hundreds of LI Utility Workers head for FL.

Hundreds of workers from National Grid and PSEG Long Island have been heading south to Florida to help restore service in areas hammered by winds and rain that seek to tap resources from their northern neighbors.

More than 300 National Grid employees and 100 vehicles—including the utility’s mobile command unit—on Sept. 12 left to support Duke Energy and Tampa Electric in their response efforts to Hurricane Irma.

And PSEG Long Island sent another 169 employees and contractors to Florida to help Florida Power & Light, Tampa Electric Company and Duke Energy Roslyn after Hurricane Irma hit. They are expected to arrive late Wednesday or early Thursday.

The PSEG Long Island-led contingent are joining 300 PSEG Long Island contractors who traveled south last week even before Hurricane Irma hit Florida.

Both sent workers as part of the utility industry’s Mutual Assistance Network which utilities in emergency situations draw on workers from other regions for assistance.

The hosting utility reimburses for associated costs, a system designed to let local utilities rapidly ramp up in case of emergency.

“With nearly six million Floridians without power this morning, we know the task ahead will not be easy,” said Dean Seavers, president of National Grid US, a Waltham, Mass.-based gas and electric utility with operations in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. “The complexity of power restoration after a catastrophic storm requires significant logistical expertise, along with skilled line workers and specialized equipment.”

National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd said the utility is sending support staff from Long Island as well as some of the same crews from upstate New York who came to assist on Long Island during Superstorm Sandy.

“Given the size and strength of Hurricane Irma, the storm is likely to be one of the largest industry restoration efforts in U.S. history,” National Grid added in a written statement.