ALLENTOWN, Pa., — PPL Electric Utilities began moving its trucks and equipment as the first step in sending repair crews to Puerto Rico to help restore power knocked out by Hurricane Maria.
Line trucks and other repair vehicles are being loaded on trucks for transport to Norfolk, Va., where they will be placed on a barge later this week. The sea voyage to the island will take about a week.
Thirty-seven linemen and support workers have volunteered to be deployed in the first wave of what could be a months-long assignment. After 30 days, other PPL workers will travel to the island to relieve the first group.
Crews will include six line workers from the Harrisburg and West Shore areas, four from the Lancaster region, four from the Lehigh Valley and Buxmont areas, four from the Scranton, Pocono and Honesdale areas, four from the Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and Frackville areas, and four from the Bloomsburg, Williamsport, Lock Haven and Sunbury areas.
PPL workers have been tasked with restoring power in the Caguas region of the island – a mountainous area that is among the hardest-hit. Conditions in the region are expected to be difficult.
“I’m very proud of our people for doing this,” said Greg Dudkin, PPL Electric Utilities president. “Many PPL employees and customers have family or friends who are affected by the widespread power outages in Puerto Rico. This is a humanitarian mission as much as it is a power restoration mission.”
PPL is one of 18 electric utilities from around the nation who are sending crews in an effort being coordinated by the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group. Also sending crews are PPL’s sister utilities, Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities.
PPL crews often are called to help restore power in other regions, and under its mutual assistance agreements, can call in help from other utilities when it is needed in the PPL service territory. Most recently, crews deployed to Florida to restore power after Hurricane Irma. For that restoration, Florida Power and Light also requested a special management team from PPL to manage crews from other companies – another reflection of the regard for PPL people around the industry.
“We are committed to doing our part to help return regular electric service to all of the people of Puerto Rico,” said Dudkin. He noted that PPL has plenty of power-restoration personnel and equipment remaining in its service territory to deal with any outages that may occur while crews are in Puerto Rico.
PPL Electric Utilities provides electric delivery service to more than 1.4 million homes and businesses in Pennsylvania and ranks among the best utility companies in the country for customer service and reliability. PPL Electric Utilities is a major employer in the communities it serves. It is a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL). For more information visit www.pplelectric.com.