President Trump has today authorized an extension of the disaster declaration in Puerto Rico. Under the extension, the island will receive 90 more days of federal funding for debris removal and 60 more days of funding for emergency protective measures, to help continue recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria. The previous disaster declaration would have ended federal aid in mid-March.
Edison Electric Institute (EEI) President Tom Kuhn released the following statement on President Trump's decision to extend for 60 days the 100% federal cost share originally authorized in September.
"EEI and its member companies applaud President Trump and his administration for taking action to ensure that the significant progress that is being made to restore power in Puerto Rico continues. As of today, our industry crews and restoration partners have restored power to more than 86 percent of all customers across the island.
"In early January, nearly 1,500 restoration workers and support personnel from many EEI member companies deployed to Puerto Rico. These mutual assistance crews joined the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors, and a contingent from New York State already working on the island. As part of this highly unique deployment, more than one thousand bucket trucks and other equipment had to be barged to Puerto Rico.
"Mutual assistance is truly the hallmark of our industry, and I am proud that EEI member companies and our entire industry, working through our trade partners at the American Public Power Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, have been involved in this unprecedented response.
"Strong industry-government coordination is critical to our efforts in Puerto Rico, and we are pleased that the Trump administration continues to recognize the value that electric company crews from the mainland are playing in this historic and extremely complex power restoration effort.
"Challenging work remains, particularly in the most remote and hardest-hit areas, and our crews will continue to work safely and as quickly as possible to restore power to the customers who are still in the dark."