CPS Energy sent two of its workers to Puerto Rico to assist in overseeing operations as power is restored to the U.S. territory. Much of the island has been without electricity since Hurricane Maria hit in September.
The American Public Power Association, a trade group of public electric utilities, is coordinating the skilled aid coming to Puerto Rico. The CPS Energy staff members will be in the island about a month.
Rudy Garza, CPS Energy’s vice president for distribution services and operations, said construction manager Larry Aguayo will help distribute key materials to the reconstruction effort.
“The transformers, and poles, and wires, and things that crews need to do restoration — we’ll be working to get them what they need,” he said.
-Senior safety manager Manuel Gonzalez will serve as the safety specialist in Puerto Rico. Both will be assisting operations in the Carolinas District of Puerto Rico while staying in San Juan. Employees of Austin Energy and Salt River Project, a utility in Arizona, will be joining Gonzalez and Aguayo.
CPS Energy Chief Operations Officer Chris Eugster will join the crews next week. Eugster is co-chair of an nationwide industry committee working to build a stronger electrical network in Puerto Rico to prevent future disasters like this.
“How do we rebuild the Puerto Rico system to ensure in future years storms don’t continue to wreak havoc on their infrastructure,” Garza said.
About 70 percent of customers in Puerto Rico have power, according to the U.S. Army. About 450,000 customers on the island do not.
The U.S government has come under fire for the length of time Puerto Rico has been without power.
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules