LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Utilities Company and Louisville Gas & Electric Company are joining the efforts of several United States energy providers, preparing to take part in a massive power restoration mission in Puerto Rico. The effort to help accelerate ongoing work to restore the island’s power, which was knocked out by Hurricane Maria, is being coordinated by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an industry trade group working in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).
The companies involved are rounding up crews and gathering resources to dedicate to the mission, which begins mobilizing this week. Bucket trucks and support vehicles will be shipped by barge from various ports after the start of the new year. LG&E and KU equipment will be sent from a port in Norfolk, Va. Linemen and other support personnel will fly to Puerto Rico, arriving within the first two weeks of January. Once on the island, crews participating in the effort will receive two days of briefings and instructions, and are expected to begin work on Jan. 15.
“From a logistics and planning perspective, this is an unprecedented mobilization effort for our company and the industry as a whole,” said John Wolfe, LG&E and KU vice president-Distribution and co-chair of the EEI Mutual Assistance Executive Committee. “EEI and its member utilities have been working together to provide industry aid to Puerto Rico since the hurricanes struck the island earlier this year. We know the value of mutual assistance partnerships and are proud to step up, and lend our resources and expertise to this initiative to help get Puerto Rico back on its feet.”
Nearly two dozen LG&E and KU vehicles and 30 personnel – including linemen, a safety specialist and others – are expected to work within the Caguas region of Puerto Rico alongside crews from the utilities’ parent company, PPL, as well as crews from Kentucky Power, another area energy provider. The mission, which is anticipated to last approximately nine weeks, will require crews to work 16-hour days in hot, humid conditions and difficult terrain. While these will be challenging circumstances, the work of responding crews will help end the longest disruption of electricity in U.S. history.