New Teams Added to the Power Restoration Workforce to Maintain 450 New York Workers Restoring the Island's Power and Infrastructure
View a Video Showing Recent Progress in Restoration Efforts Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the deployment of the latest rotation of additional New York utility personnel who are working to restore power to Puerto Rico's severely damaged power grid from Hurricane Maria in September. The latest series of deployments, including 46 National Grid personnel departing today, will maintain New York's commitment to ensure that the on-island New York human resources dedicated to the task remain above 450 utility personnel. Volunteers from the New York Power Authority and the state's investor-owned utilities are rotating in to replace crews who were dispatched in November and worked diligently throughout the holidays to help the island recover.
"New Yorkers help their neighbors in their time of need and I could not be prouder of the way this state stood up and helped with power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico," Governor Cuomo said. "We are not only successfully restoring power each day, we are simultaneously looking to help rebuild stronger so that our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico have a resilient power system that can weather future storms."
Governor Cuomo first mobilized the New York utility contingent in early November in response to a request by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossell for utility mutual aid resources. The crews, primarily transmission and distribution, damage assessors and general support staff, have been undertaking repairs to transmission lines and supporting other electric infrastructure work. The workers are being rotated as necessary to maintain a consistent workforce. The teams have been working 16 hour days, seven days a week to help restore power. A video of the power restoration milestones can be viewed here.
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "I want to personally thank each and every one of our New York utility contingent that is on the ground in Puerto Rico and especially those at the New York Power Authority that are shaping this recovery effort, under the Governor's direction, on a day-to-day basis. This new influx of volunteers will help galvanize our power recovery efforts. We have made significant gains in the restoration effort and these additional resources will help to further our progress, especially as new partners join the effort."
National Grid President and COO Ken Daly said, "We are very proud of the work done by our crews so far, and are committed to continuing the effort until power is fully restored to our neighbors in Puerto Rico. The response from New York being coordinated by Governor Cuomo has been unprecedented, and I personally know first-hand the work is both recognized and greatly appreciated."
Chairman and CEO of Con Edison John McAvoy said, "Con Edison and Orange and Rockland Utilities crews have been working side-by-side with the New York Power Authority and other utility crews from New York State, and around the country, to restore electricity
to Puerto Rico. We’re building it back, and building it better. Our third wave of committed employees will be arriving next week, meaning that almost 470 employees and company contractors will have played a role so far. We will fulfill Governor Cuomo’s promise to stand with the people of the island until the job is done."
President and COO of PSEG Long Island Dan Eichhorn said, "PSEG Long Island's ongoing support of the Governor's efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico highlights the commitment we have for community and service. The employees and contractors who volunteered to help with restoration efforts in Puerto Rico have been profoundly affected by the magnitude of the destruction, as well as humbled by the resiliency and appreciation of the Puerto Rican people."
Central Hudson President and C.E.O. Michael L. Mosher said, "Central Hudson is pleased to support the continued New York State effort to help Puerto Rico rebuild its critical electric infrastructure. Just as we have been grateful to have been on the receiving end of mutual aid assistance when disasters have impacted the Hudson River Valley, we are equally willing to lend support when others are in need of skilled workers and restoration support."
Congressman José E. Serrano said, "More than half the residents of Puerto Rico still don't have access to electricity months after Hurricane Maria. While this Administration continues to ignore what can only be described as a humanitarian crisis, New York is once again stepping up to the plate to help the island by providing it with the resources it needs. I thank and applaud Governor Cuomo for his continued efforts to help Puerto Rico fully recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria."
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez said, "When Governor Cuomo and I visited Puerto Rico directly following the landfall of Hurricane Maria, it was clear that New York needed to lend help to our neighbor. I applaud Governor Cuomo's, and New York's, continuous commitment to help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico to not recover, but to rebuild to be stronger than ever. I am so impressed by the work the men and women who are returning have accomplished, and by the pledge of the men and women utility workers leaving today."
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, said, "The hard work of the men and women focused on restoring power to the millions impacted by Hurricane Maria deserves our gratitude as they have left their homes and families behind in the mainland to work in tough conditions and a perilous terrain. The rotation of utility workers continues this hard work and New York's commitment to helping Puerto Rico. Governor Cuomo's efforts to focus State resources to addressing this disaster and recovery efforts has saved lives, created hope and inspired entire communities to rebuild and build back stronger."
Governor Cuomo recently established the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Working Group and announced a comprehensive plan with recommendations on how to rebuild and transform Puerto Rico's power system into on that it is more resilient, efficient, advanced and less dependent on fossil fuel imports that cost Puerto Ricans more than $2 billion annually.
In January, the U.S. electric utility industry plans to send more than 1,000 additional utility workers and hundreds of additional trucks and pieces of equipment to Puerto Rico to help accelerate the restoration of power. Edison Electric Institute, the trade association for investor-owned utility companies, is leading the national response in cooperation with the American Public Power Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
New York State's unified emergency response command was designated the first incident management team in Puerto Rico, deployed to support the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in restoring electricity. The command oversees utility volunteers from the New York Power Authority, Con Edison, AVANGRID, PSEG, National Grid and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. This multidisciplinary team, whose primary responsibility is to concentrate on restoring power in the San Juan region, is also helping to prepare for an upcoming influx of additional recovery personnel.
Since September, NYPA has been overseeing deployment of expert personnel to Puerto Rico including a tactical power restoration team that assessed damage of the island's power distribution system, a team of accountants sent to help expedite filings for funding reimbursements with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and power system experts that helped PREPA triage damage and assess the island's 360 substations.
For more information about the recovery and relief efforts underway in Puerto Rico, and to learn how you can assist, please visit the Governor's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands webpage.
To view additional videos of the New York utility contingent and the progress they are making to restore power in Puerto Rico, visit NYPA's YouTube page.