Duke Energy crews sent to storm-ravaged West Virginia to help Sandy power recovery

Ind. crews could be gone for 2 weeks

NEW CASTLE, Ind. - With millions of people still without power from Superstorm Sandy across the northeastern U.S., Duke Energy crews headed out Wednesday morning for West Virginia.

Crews had been staging in New Castle before getting their orders on where to go.

While areas such as New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have gotten most of the attention from the storm, heavy snow pounded the mountains of West Virginia, plunging hundreds of thousands there into the dark, too.

"Everybody needs electricity, and when you don't have it, you sure miss it real quick," said Earl Six, of Duke Energy.

"You never look forward to going to the devastation you might see, but we're willing to get down there and help and do what we can," said Derik Carr, of Duke Energy.

Power crews provide a beacon of hope for people sitting in the cold without power.

"They always seem very appreciative when they see us going down the road," said Duke worker Rick Butler.

Crews come equipped with thousands of feet of wire and other gear to restore power. They've been preparing to leave for two days and have been told to expect to be in West Virginia for up to 14 days, working 16-hour shifts.

Power companies do the work in storm aftermath in a cooperative effort. When the next weather-related disaster strikes Indiana, out-of-state crews will come here to return the favor.

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