Following the request for assistance from Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) CEO Ricardo Ramos, senior executives from the electric power industry and federal government convened a call last week to discuss next steps for this new phase in the power restoration effort.
Participating in the call were Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette; PREPA CEO Ricardo Ramos; New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and CEO Gil Quiniones; senior officials from the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; electric company CEOs; and leadership from the American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI).
"While yesterday was effectively day one for this new phase in the restoration effort, we know that our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico have been without power for more than a month," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "We are committed to resolving problems quickly, and we already are having solutions-oriented conversations, improving supply chain logistics, and dispatching people and equipment to Puerto Rico. We thank Secretary Perry for his participation in these calls and for his ongoing support and leadership."
New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced that New York would be sending an additional 350 utility personnel and 220 vehicles from public and private electric companies in New York State to help Puerto Rico restore power.
"Some public power utilities already are supporting power restoration, and we will now complement the resources on the island as we continue to coordinate with PREPA, our government partners, and their contractors," said APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly. "NYPA sent technical experts to Puerto Rico soon after Maria struck and has sent additional personnel and advisors. NYPA has been integral in getting the right resources for restoration on the ground and will now be sending 20 utility personnel as part of the New York State contingent." NYPA previously had committed to sending 28 engineers and 15 damage assessment experts.
"The request for assistance from PREPA now allows EEI member companies and our industry on the mainland to fully support the critical power restoration efforts underway in Puerto Rico," said Kuhn. "For example, as part of the first wave of this deployment, 70 vehicles, including 38 bucket trucks and diggers from Con Edison of New York and Orange and Rockland Utilities, will be loaded onto a cargo ship near Camden, NJ, that will depart for the island this weekend. Nearly 120 overhead power line workers, technical specialists, and personnel from both of these companies will be flown separately to Puerto Rico next week and will be there to meet the equipment and vehicles as they arrive in Puerto Rico."
"This still will be a very challenging and complicated restoration effort, but we are committed to supporting the ongoing power restoration process. Strong coordination remains critical," added Kelly.