PPL crews to travel to island

PPL Electric Utilities is preparing to send repair crews and line trucks to Puerto Rico to help restore power knocked out by Hurricane Maria, according to a news release.

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.

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.

Line trucks and support vehicles will be sent to the island by barge, starting around Jan. 3. PPL personnel will fly to Puerto Rico later, arriving Jan. 12, the news release said.

“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 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, the news release said. 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 weather-related outages that may occur while crews are in Puerto Rico.