KU and LG&E crews to help restore power in Puerto Rico

LG&E, KU, Louisville Gas & Energy, Kentucky Utilities
Upgrades to LG&E and KU's online outage map

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.

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“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.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.