Following the widespread destruction to infrastructure in Puerto Rico brought on by Hurricane Maria, local authorities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are focusing efforts on life safety and search and rescue operations. At the same time, the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) is working across the electric power sector and with federal partners to prepare for what will be a lengthy and complicated damage assessment and power restoration effort to the energy grid.
“We thank President Trump for authorizing 100% cost sharing by the federal government for 180 days of emergency work to help begin the process of repairing damaged energy infrastructure,” said American Public Power Association (APPA) President and CEO Sue Kelly. “While authorities on the ground are working to restore and stabilize transportation, telecommunications, and public safety, APPA is coordinating with our members and the federal government to provide mutual aid to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.”
Until damage assessments are completed across the island, officials will not know what resources — both human and equipment — will be needed to restore power. APPA and the electric power industry will work with government partners to secure the transportation, fuel, housing, food, water, and security that will be needed to support restoration crews once the assessments are done.
“Responding to major events like Hurricane Maria requires significant coordination among the public and private sectors,” said ESCC Co-chair Tom Fanning, chairman, president, and CEO of Atlanta-based Southern Company. “Strong industry-government coordination is critical, and I thank President Trump and his Administration for their support and commitment throughout Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Puerto Rico is facing complicated logistical challenges for life and safety that need to be stabilized before full power restoration efforts can get underway. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Puerto Rico and their families during this challenging time.”