The U.S. federal government is coordinating a massive and complex network of emergency aid for Puerto Rico, as the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria continues to cause untold hardship for the people.
The American Public Power Association is grateful to President Trump for authorizing 100 percent cost sharing by the federal government for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including restoration of overhead power lines. This increased federal support was announced on September 26 and is in effect for 180 days starting September 17. “We thank President Trump for support to begin the process of repairing damaged energy infrastructure,” said Association President and CEO Sue Kelly.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is coordinating all aid and recovery in Puerto Rico, announced on September 27 that a power task force, comprising representatives from the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the private sector power industry, and the government of Puerto Rico, is working aggressively to develop a holistic plan to assess damage, build power resources, and restore power to the grid.
“The DOE is also working closely with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the American Public Power Association, the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, the Department of Defense, and FEMA to facilitate mutual aid for Puerto Rico,” FEMA said in a press release.
“The Association stands ready to coordinate the dispatch of crews and equipment from other electric utilities, as requested by our federal partners,” said Mike Hyland, the Association’s senior vice president, engineering services. “We are here to support what will be a lengthy and complicated damage assessment and power restoration effort,” he added.
The American Public Power Association coordinates a national mutual aid network to bring public power utilities across the country together to help the local utility restore power after a disaster. We activated mutual aid after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We are now doing the same to help the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority restore service after Hurricane Maria. We work in close coordination with the federal government and other associations in the electric power sector.