CenterPoint crews get closer to Sandy devastation

HOUSTON - CenterPoint Energy crews from Houston are headed to the northeast to restore power that was knocked out by Superstorm Sandy.

KPRC Local 2 reporter Mark Boyle is following the crews on their journey.

More than 70 people and 45 trucks are headed to the Washington D.C. area after Pepco, an electricity provider, asked for help.

"The travel is a big challenge," said Thomas Klesel, a CenterPoint Energy operations manager.

Finding hotels, restaurants and gas stations along the way has been challenging.

"We try to travel 500 miles a day … about all we can make with three fuel stops and lunch and everything else," Klesel said.

The crews left Houston on Monday morning and spent the night in Jackson, Miss. They headed toward Knoxville, Tenn., on Tuesday and expect to make it to the Washington D.C. area on Wednesday.

"When we get there, we go through a safety orientation to make sure we understand their system," Klesel said.

The crews could begin restoring power as soon as Thursday.

Clarence Watkins has been with CenterPoint for 28 years. He said he's been to storm-ravaged areas before, but this situation is different.

"It's one of those things – how cold is it going to be? How wet is it going to be? But all in all, we are prepared for it," Watkins said. "We will be ready."

The crews could be away from their families for up to two weeks.

"(Relatives) are concerned about our safety, but they understand we come out here to help other families," Watkins said. "We consider these guys families, so we come out here and give them a hand."

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.