Gulf Power is once again joining its parent company, Southern Company, in sending more team members to
Puerto Rico to assist in the massive restoration process following Hurricane Maria’s devastation that virtually wiped out all power to the island last September. Some have not had power since Hurricane Irma impacted the area earlier that same month.
Eleven Gulf Power employees will be part of a Southern Company team including Mississippi Power, Alabama Power and Georgia Power — joining thousands of other utility workers from across the nation assisting with restoration.
“Our crews are geared up, ready to go and ready to make a difference for the people of Puerto Rico,” Adrianne Collins, vice president of Power Delivery said. “Maria was devastating to the island and our team is committed to help restore power and hope.”
Gulf Power employees will fly to Puerto Rico on Saturday, Jan. 20, where they will spend approximately 45 days setting poles, pulling wire and installing infrastructure.
“Aiding each other following severe weather events is what we do,” said Collins. “Gulf Power crews are storm-ready to handle the difficult job in Puerto Rico in this mutual assistance effort.”
In late December, six Gulf Power trucks were loaded onto barges in Mobile, Alabama along with vehicles from other utilities to be ferried to Puerto Rico ahead of the team.
Several other Gulf Power employees have already been deployed in Puerto Rico, working to determine the damage and help develop a coordinated restoration plan. Shelley Scarborough, Eastern District operations manager, recently returned from spending a month there planning and helping to set up a staging site for the incoming team.
“Some of the work Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has laid out will be good work for our team, and I’m looking forward to the crews getting there and making a difference,” she said. “Folks there are so nice and extremely receptive of us being there — the residents and PREPA.”
Nearly four months after Maria, hundreds of thousands of customers remain without power as 1,500 restoration workers from various utilities are pouring onto the island this month to ramp up the restoration process.
On Jan. 10, Edison Electric Institute awarded Gulf Power with its “Emergency Assistance Award” for extraordinary storm restoration following hurricane Irma, and in 2016 for restoration efforts following Hurricanes Matthew and Hermine.