CPS Energy workers travel to Houston to help with Hurricane Nicholas recovery

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32 Workers headed out Wednesday morning to help restore power after Hurricane Nicholas swept through the area.

SAN ANTONIO — Workers with CPS Energy set out for the Houston area this morning to help restore power after Hurricane Nicholas.

In the early morning hours, crews were hard at work prepping for the long road ahead of them.

“We’re going to CenterPoint, which is in Houston, to assist our brothers over there to restore power,” said CPS Energy worker Rudy Gonzales. Thirty-two workers and support staff set out to assist.

“Some of the guys that we’re working with that are going. This is their first time going out,” said journeyman and lineman Frank Stakes.

The last time CPS Energy sent crews to assist after a disaster was in 2018.

“For many, many reasons, we haven’t sent a team out this big,” CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams said of the previous effort.

Gold-Williams told her workers that people have high expectations of the systems that bring them power, but in the end, they are just infrastructure.

“They can’t repair themselves,” she said. “You are going out there to do a really important job to help Texans get back on their feet.”

On top of the normal hazards that come with electrical work, these crews face high temperatures, high humidity and long hours.

“Sometimes the hours are 16 hours, so it’s just the fatigue that can happen, the dehydration that can happen,” Stakes said. “But we’re pretty loaded down with water, Gatorade, things that we’re going to need for that.”

Working with electricity in extreme conditions, small mistakes can have deadly consequences. So Gold-Williams came out to give the workers one last safety briefing before they left. Her one request — come home safe.

“We can’t wait ’til you go and do a great job and make us proud, but we can’t wait ’til you get back home safe,” she said.

In that effort, she’ll have allies on the ground, like Gonzalez.

“Everybody’s in a hurry to get the lights back on,” Gonzales said. “But our biggest concern is to our safety first.”

Some workers, like Stakes, relish the opportunity to show everyone that they are up to the challenge.

“Everyone is excited to show what we’re made out of,” he said.

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