Disaster Response and Mutual Aid
Press Release

Gearing up to help in the wake of Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico took the full brunt of Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017. Power is currently out to 100 percent of the island. Cell towers are out of service as well, making communications spotty. Just before Maria hit, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) had succeeded in restoring power to 96 percent of its customers who had lost power after Hurricane Irma.

The island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands was also badly hit by Maria. Hurricane Irma had knocked out electric service to most of St. Thomas and virtually all of St. John, but largely spared St. Croix. Now the electric infrastructure of all three islands is substantially compromised.

The American Public Power Association has approximately 1,400 public power utility members, including PREPA and the USVI Water and Power Authority (WAPA). We are working with our members and federal government partners to coordinate the provision of mutual aid to PREPA and USVI WAPA.

Power restoration happens in two phases. First, the damage must be assessed. Until such an assessment is completed, we won’t know what resources—both human and equipment--will be needed to restore power. Once we know what is required, the needed people and equipment must be brought in to help restore electric service where possible and rebuild facilities where needed.

We are working closely with our federal government partners on the logistics of getting help down to both territories to help PREPA and WAPA turn the lights back on as quickly and safely as possible.