Workers from at least two local energy companies are sending crews to the East Coast to help restore power after Hurricane Sandy devastated the area.
Southern California Edison sent 120 workers and 70-80 vehicles Thursday afternoon to help in New York, according to spokeswoman Vanessa McGrady.
Equipment was sent from March Air Reserve Base near Riverside Thursday.
"SCE vehicles and personnel are being air-lifted to New York to help Con Ed (Consolidated Edison Company of New York) under a mutual aid agreement after the president signed a (request) allowing military equipment to be used in the disaster relief," McGrady said. "Previous plans were to convoy, which would have taken them four days."
Aid for the East Coast is coming from commercial air, military airlift and by sea, according to a news release from the Department of Defense.
SCE is sending 16 four-person line crews, eight two-person trouble teams to diagnose problems and support personnel, some of whom will assist the Red Cross, McGrady said.
Bear Valley Electric Services, a division of Golden State Water Company, is also sending five linemen and an engineering inspector.
The crews will install and repair power poles, transformers and power lines that have been damaged by the storm, said operations and planning manager Karuna Warren.
That crew will initially go to New Jersey but could go to Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virgina, Warren said.
Because of mutual aid agreements, neither local company will pay for the trip, company representatives said. SCE's crews will be paid for by Con Ed, while FirstEnergy Corporation will reimburse BVES.
Southern California customers won't be affected, said Martin Gutierrez, district manager for SCE's Menifee service center.
"Our customers will not see a difference at all," Guiterrez said. "We are always working ahead of time and very proactively, so we left enough personnel behind to keep up."
Gutierrez said seven of the 150 employees he supervises will leave. He and McGrady weren't sure how long crews would be needed.
His employees have also assisted with recent smaller-scale disasters in northern California, Oregon and - to a larger extent - the San Gabriel Valley, he said.
"We get a lot of volunteers that are excited, and they always take a lot of pride in assisting and restoring power," Gutierrez said.
Staff writer Rick Sforza contributed to this report.