The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and electric industry partners, on March 29 announced the restoration of electric service to 95 percent of customers throughout the island who are able to receive power, equivalent to just under 1,400,000 of PREPA’s 1,473,000 customers.
Currently, 2,714 workers continue to work to restore power to the 74,525 customers across the island who remain without service.
As of March 30, the following public power utilities were on the island and helping with restoration efforts: Austin Energy, SRP, CPS Energy, Commonwealth Utilities Corporation of the Northern Mariana Islands, New York Power Authority, Norwich Public Utilities, SMUD, and Richmond Power and Light.
PREPA noted that in every restoration following a major storm or emergency, a point is reached where most of the work is completed and the number and type of workers needed to complete the job is reassessed.
"At this point, it is common for mutual assistance crews to be released as our efforts converge into the hardest-hit areas where smaller numbers of people remain without service,” said Walter Higgins, CEO of PREPA. Higgins, who has served in a variety of energy industry positions, was named CEO of PREPA in March.
“This right-sizing of the workforce is deliberate and ensures that the remaining crews are well-positioned to continue emergency restoration efforts in the most efficient manner possible,” he noted. “In addition, many of our electric industry partners now need their workers back home to be ready for their own storm season,” he said.
Higgins said that as part of the right-sizing, PREPA will assume the direction of the emergency restoration efforts and for this reason a request for proposal process has been completed to procure the services of additional contractors to supplement the current restoration resources in Puerto Rico.
The PREPA CEO also said that these additional equipment and line crews provide the capacity and specialized capabilities needed to complete the restoration of electrical service to the citizens of Puerto Rico still without power.
Also, these resources will be available in preparation for the 2018 hurricane season and provide for on-demand response in the event of another storm.