TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hundreds of workers stationed at the Florida State Fairgrounds are assisting Tampa Electric in power restoration efforts across the Tampa Bay area.
TECO assembled 3,000 crew members to assist in restoration efforts including line workers, tree trimmers and damage assessors. Eight hundred of those workers are camping out at the fairgrounds. The teams are helping as part of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, which is a pledge of support during storms and other disasters.
"They are from a dozen different states, from as far away as Texas and Oklahoma and Indiana," said Cherie Jacobs, TECO spokeswoman. "It's like the cavalry has arrived here to help."
TECO has assisted companies in other states during emergency events, but now it's the company in need.
"There have been many opportunities for us to travel to other areas to help restore power during ice storms and other hurricanes, and this time it's us asking for help, and they're returning the favor," Jacobs said.
Hurricane Ian affected nearly 300,000 TECO customers. As of 8 a.m. Saturday, nearly 80 percent of those customers had power restored.
8 On Your Side spoke to a man from a power company based in Ohio, working 16-hour shifts assisting in TECO's restoration efforts.
"You give back to a community where you see they've devastated, lost a lot; you try to come in and help out as much as possible," said Dennis Wayne, AEP Ohio.