CT-based AVANGRID Inc. announced it is providing assistance to Puerto Rico by deploying a Tactical Power Restoration Team specializing in the supervision of power transmission and distribution system recovery.
The AVANGRID team, comprised of employees from across many of its Northeast subsidiaries, will assist ongoing efforts to address the island’s power crisis after Hurricane María tore through Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph.
“It’s a familiar scenario for AVANGRID’s hardworking personnel who are regularly dispatched to assist with power restoration after storms throughout the Northeast,” said James P. Torgerson, AVANGRID CEO.
“At AVANGRID, we know from experience how much it means to our customers to be able to restore electrical service as quickly as possible after a storm — and that urgency is particularly felt in Puerto Rico as the holidays approach,” he said,
“That’s why we are pleased to offer assistance to ensure that when severe weather strikes — whether it’s in our territory or across the U.S. — there are sufficient personnel and resources to assist in recovery efforts,” he added.
Puerto Rico continues to rebuild following the devastation caused by María, but 70 percent of the island’s 3.4 million residents remain without power nearly six weeks later.
Puerto Rico’s electricity provider, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, is receiving assistance from U.S. federal and state agencies, including the New York Power Authority (NYPA), to rebuild its power grid, which was completely destroyed by the storm.
NYPA has contacted investor-owned energy companies, including AVANGRID, to spearhead rebuilding efforts. AVANGRID has answered the call and is committed to helping Puerto Rico get back on track, it said.
AVANGRID employees have volunteered to leave their homes and families for one month to work 16-hour days, seven days a week to be part of this vital recovery. The AVANGRID volunteers are part of a 28-member Tactical Power Restoration team of technical experts consisting of engineers and supervisors who will work with PREPA.
“I’m proud to be able to represent AVANGRID as we embark on this endeavor to restore power and bring relief so that island residents can begin a path toward normalcy,” said NY Director of Electric Operations Beverly Allen, who will be leading AVANGRID’s first team of tactical experts.
“Our goal is to provide a high level of experience and expertise that will serve as a building block for a new and improved electrical grid that Puerto Ricans will be able to rely on for years to come,” Allen said.
These experienced energy professionals will be dispatched in teams to seven regions in Puerto Rico to provide technical oversight in the work to restore the island’s power grid. NYPA anticipates deploying additional waves of workers to backfill this initial team.
“I hope I can use my 30 years of experience with the company to help restore power and the quality of life for the residents of Puerto Rico,” said Eduardo DelMonte, an operations supervisor from Connecticut who will lead the second AVANGRID team.
“The entire AVANGRID team will work tirelessly to provide guidance and technical assistance as the island rebuilds its grid while serving as ambassadors for a company that strives to make a difference in the lives of millions,” DelMonte said.
The volunteers from AVANGRID will join members of other the energy companies and depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport the week of Nov. 6 for their 30-day assignment. AVANGRID and its energy companies will remain staffed and ready to respond to any local events.