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Electric Utilities Send Teams to Puerto Rico

December 15, 2017

The electric power industry deployed a contingent of seven incident management teams (IMTs) to Puerto Rico to support ongoing power restoration efforts across the island. These IMTs, each comprising seven to 10 operations experts, will be assigned to seven key regions on the island and will coordinate with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), both of which already are working to restore power to the people of Puerto Rico.

As part of the industry’s response, several electric companies are entering into a memorandum of understanding with PREPA, developed by the American Public Power Association (APPA), the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and will serve as a vehicle that allows electric companies that are members of APPA, EEI, or NRECA to enter into emergency agreements to provide resources and workers to PREPA on a not-for-profit basis. The first phase of the MOU will include the IMTs now being dispatched to the island.

The initial IMT deployment will consist of storm response experts from investor-owned electric companies and public power utilities, with additional experts from electric cooperatives joining in a second relief wave.

“Electric cooperatives are proud to support these additional resources to expedite restoration efforts in Puerto Rico,” NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said. “Co-ops have a unique understanding of the challenges involved in maintaining and restoring power in rural, rugged, and mountainous terrain. We look forward to bringing those skills to bear as part of this unified restoration effort.”

A team of electric company storm response experts has been in Puerto Rico since early November and is coordinating closely with local officials, PREPA, FEMA, USACE, and technical experts from New York, who have supported assessment and restoration efforts since Maria struck in September. The team is focused on assessing damages and putting into place a formal structure to support logistics, equipment needs, and supply chain issues and to ensure ongoing restoration efforts are safe, efficient, and effective.

In total, there are now more than 3,000 workers on the island who are dedicated to the power restoration mission, including PREPA’s own workers and crews mobilized under USACE contracts. This number will grow as full assessments are completed and the coordinated restoration plan is fully implemented.

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