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Hurricane María

Stateside power co’s to deploy 1.5K workers to PR in Jan.

Power crews have been working on restoring Puerto Rico’s power grid.

Several investor-owned electric companies that are members of the Edison Electric Institute will deploy nearly 1,500 additional restoration workers and support personnel to Puerto Rico in early January to accelerate ongoing power restoration efforts across the island, the EEI said.

These new personnel will work under the direction of the seven incident management teams (IMTs) that were deployed to Puerto Rico on Dec. 10 to support the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA’s) regional directors.

Working with PREPA, FEMA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the IMTs are focused on completing a full damage assessment of Puerto Rico’s energy grid to develop an updated and more closely coordinated restoration plan.

With this new wave, the total number of power restoration workers will increase to more than 5,500.

This includes the resources already working on the island from PREPA’s own crews, a contingent of crews from New York who are working as part of an intergovernmental agreement, and crews mobilized under USACE contracts.

Since the request for mutual assistance was first received from PREPA in early November, EEI and our member companies have been working in partnership with the American Public Power Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to supply technical expertise, materials, equipment, and resources to the island. The deployment of additional crews represents the next phase in the mutual assistance response.

“Providing support to fellow electric companies in need is a hallmark of our industry, and I am very proud of our unique mutual assistance program,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn.

“The incident management teams on the island already have enhanced PREPA’s organizational structure and management and logistics capabilities so that PREPA is ready to put these additional lineworkers and support personnel to work as soon as they arrive,” Kuhn said.

“These new crews will help to accelerate the restoration mission and to restore power safely and as quickly as possible for the people of Puerto Rico,” he added.

The companies sending crews include PPL Electric Utilities, Dominion Energy Virginia and CenterPoint Energy Inc.

“In parallel with PREPA’s daily power restoration activities, we continue to update our master restoration plan, which has been evolving these past few weeks based upon the damage we continue to uncover and the ongoing flow of resources and materials into the island,” said Carlos D. Torres, a retiree from Con Edison who was appointed as the Power Restoration Coordinator by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

“Completing the damage assessments allowed us to identify the types of additional human and equipment resources that we need. As part of this mutual assistance deployment, hundreds of trucks with tools and equipment will be loaded on ships this week and barged to Puerto Rico, and our goal is for the nearly 1,500 mutual assistance crews from the mainland to arrive on the island by Jan. 12,” he said.

The IMTs also have identified new lodging and basecamps for crews and staging sites for materials that will allow for workers and materials to be located closer to where the work needs to be done.

“This is a massive and unprecedented restoration mission, and I want to thank FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers for the tremendous work that they have done and continue to do for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Kuhn. “EEI, our member companies, and our industry trade partners remain fully committed to supporting PREPA and doing all we can to assist our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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