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Crew travel from NMI to help Puerto Rico restore power

(CUC) — A five-person team from the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. arrived in Puerto Rico on January 17, 2018 to support the work of power restoration after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017.

Joseph Crisostomo, Frederico Lizama, Raymond Quitano, Joseph Lizama and Kevin Hidalgo traveled to help their fellow Americans in need. They will help the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority or PREPA — which is a government-run utility like CUC — restore power for people in the Carolina region of Puerto Rico.

Two utility trucks were rented from Colorado and shipped in a barge with other public power vehicles to Puerto Rico to allow the CUC crews to do their work on the island.

“This is a great mission of service and we are proud to participate. We have to help Puerto Rico, our sister commonwealth,” said Gary Camacho, the executive director of CUC. “When we were hit by disaster in the Northern Mariana Islands in 2015, we had public power utilities from across the U.S. and the Pacific come out to support our restoration efforts. It is now time for us to give back,” he added.

CUC and PREPA are members of the American Public Power Association and its mutual aid network, which connects utilities in need of help after a disaster with similar utilities across the U.S. that can send crews, materials, and equipment to aid in the restoration. APPA and several of its members are supporting PREPA along with the rest of the electric industry and the federal government. In January alone, 1,500 mainland industry crews are scheduled to arrive in Puerto Rico and work across seven regions in Puerto Rico, under the oversight of industry-led incident management teams.

The intensive restoration effort in Puerto Rico is unprecedented in magnitude and complexity. Much of the electric grid was destroyed and there are many hard to access regions. About 37 percent of customers still do not have power.

“Every bit of help matters. We are so very grateful to the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation for traveling all the way to Puerto Rico to help. They represent the true public power spirit of giving back,” said Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the American Public Power Association.

The CUC team is expected to remain in Puerto Rico for 60 days.

For more information, contact the CUC Customer Call Center at 664-4282 or monitor its Facebook page for the latest updates (https://www.facebook.com/CommonwealthUtilitiesCorporation/).

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101775-crew-travel-from-nmi-to-help-puerto-rico-restore-power

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