The Edison Electric Institute presented ITC Holdings Corp. with the association’s special 2018 Emergency Assistance Award for Puerto Rico Power Restoration for its contributions to the unprecedented emergency power restoration mission in Puerto Rico following Hurricane María.
The EEI also presented WEC Energy Group with its special 2018 Emergency Assistance Award for its contributions to the same recovery effort, in the weeks and months after the Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017.
The storm impacted all critical infrastructure, damaging at least 80 percent of the island’s energy grid, and leaving all island residents without power.
Electric companies from the mainland that provided mutual assistance to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority faced challenging and complex restoration work because extensive portions of the island’s energy grid are in rugged, mountainous terrain that has little or no road access.
Getting crews and equipment to Puerto Rico also was much more complicated and time-intensive than deploying mutual assistance in the mainland, and it required extensive coordination among responding companies.
Nearly 60 investor-owned electric companies and public power utilities committed crews, equipment, and/or materials to the emergency power restoration mission. Overall, approximately 3,000 industry lineworkers and support personnel were involved in the restoration effort on the island.
“This recognition underscores not only ITC’s focus on recovery support but on the need to collaborate across the industry to ensure we are focused on long-term grid reliability,” adds ITC President and CEO Linda Apsey.
Meanwhile, more than 70 We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service employees were deployed for a six-week stay, but the majority of the crews worked 18-hour days on the island for eight weeks.
“We could not be more proud of our employees for dedicating two months of their lives to this humanitarian mission,” said Gale Klappa, CEO of WEC Energy Group. “This was an unprecedented effort for us, sending crews and equipment outside the continental United States for the first time in our company’s history.”
“The power restoration effort in Puerto Rico was a massive and unprecedented mission, and electric companies from across the country, including WEC Energy Group, responded to the call for help,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn.