HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) – Seventy-two line workers and tree trimmers from CenterPoint energy were at Bush Intercontinental Airport early Friday morning for a flight to Puerto Rico. CenterPoint shipped its truck by barge last month. Now, the workers who will staff those vehicles will land in Puerto Rico and get to work restoring electricity to the hurricane-damaged island.
CenterPoint Energy’s team will join more than 1,500 additional restoration crew members from other utilities traveling to Puerto Rico. Crews are expected to be in Puerto Rico for six weeks.
“It’s now time for utility crews like ours to come in and help with this next phase of Puerto Rico’s restoration process and we’re proud to be part of our industry’s response,” said Ed Scott, director of operations for CenterPoint Energy. “While we’ve participated in many mutual assistance trips, it is unprecedented for us to put our equipment, bucket trucks and electric supplies on a barge that took two weeks to arrive on the island. We are fully committed to restoring power to Puerto Rico as quickly and as safely as possible.”
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Extensive portions of Puerto Rico’s electric grid are located in rugged, mountainous terrain that has little or no road access due to Hurricane Maria’s impact.
“This restoration mission will be more difficult than any other we have worked on, but our crews are prepared to work long hours safely, facing the logistical and geographical challenges accompanying the historic damage to Puerto Rico’s infrastructure,” said Scott.
CenterPoint Energy is part of electric utility mutual assistance programs that provide access to thousands of linemen and tree trimmers from around the country to lend a hand during widespread power outage emergencies. Coming to the aid of other utilities is nothing new to CenterPoint Energy employees. Over the years, crews have responded and restored power to hundreds of thousands of customers throughout the country who have been left in the dark following hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.