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SRP teams collaborate on site in the Carolina region

Week 1 update: SRP assisting Puerto Rico power recovery efforts

SRP working among PREPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.

SRP is helping to lead and coordinate efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation.

In collaboration with two employees from Austin Energy, SRP is providing one of seven 10-person regional Incident Management Teams (IMTs) for the next two months on behalf of the American Public Power Association.

“Puerto Rico’s electrical service territory is naturally divided into seven regions, similar to our five Distribution Operations Center areas,” said Bret Marchese, Director, Distribution Maintenance. “Our team will work alongside Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority employees to bring structure, facilitate the restoration efforts, and improve the overall coordination and communication among the approximately 3,500 contract, Puerto Rico Electric and Army Corps crews deployed on the island.”

View Puerto Rico Power Restoration Map

SRP has committed to two deployments, with team members working for 30 consecutive days during each rotation. The first team, which deployed Dec. 8 and 10, includes Marchese, Andy Smith, Tony Esqueda, Dorian Speed, Rick Hudson, Mark Bell, Victor Guerrero and Mike Runzo. The second deployment is scheduled for early January and includes Wayne Wisdom, Matt Peek, Jesus Rodriguez, Dean Frescholtz, Ruben Hinojos, Eddie Banuelos and Leonard Rondeau.

Speed, Design Supervisor, Maintenance Engineering, said that although he’s having to leave his four sons ages 6–12 for the holidays, he and his wife agreed that he needed to go help people.

“That’s what we’re here to do in life,” Speed added. “I’m not used to being away from my kids so that is going to be difficult for me, but I’m looking forward to being around different people and a different culture and growing and developing down there.”

Hudson, who is leaving behind four kids and five grandsons for the holidays, agreed.

Team en route to Puerto Rico
From left, Rick Hudson, Mike Runzo, Victor Guerrero and Dorian Speed fly to Puerto Rico on Dec. 10.

“The great thing is just being able to restore some normalcy to their lives,” Hudson said. “I can’t imagine being out for eight hours, let alone 80 days that they’re going on now. I can’t think of a better Christmas gift for some of these people than to have power restored.”

The last time SRP assisted another utility in restoring power because of a major natural disaster was in November 2012. More than 60 SRP employees spent two weeks working alongside Long Island Power Authority and other utilities replacing damaged power poles, overhead lines and damaged electrical equipment as more than 1 million customers in the New York region lost power during Hurricane Sandy.

Day 2 Team APPA first tailboard
On Day 2, the team prepares for trip assessing damage by participating in a safety tailboard meeting.

SRP’s Role in Puerto Rico

  • Assigned to the Carolina region of Puerto Rico, which is just east of San Juan
  • Providing two waves of teams, each for 30-day commitments
  • Accessing damage and directing lineman teams from central operations center
  • Sending eight of the 10 IMT participants; Austin Energy is sending the other two
  • Wave 1 commitment is from Dec. 10–Jan. 8
  • Wave 2 is from Jan. 8–Feb. 5
Day 4 assessment
SRP teams evaluating damage to distribution system as restoration continues.

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