San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC (Oncor), two of Sempra Energy’s utilities, were recently recognized by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) for their contributions to the power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017.
At EEI’s Annual Convention in San Diego on June 5, the organization recognized the collective efforts made by the U.S. utility industry to support the restoration efforts, and honored the linemen and support personnel who traveled to Puerto Rico to assist.
In January 2018, Oncor sent about 80 employees and contractors, and about 70 vehicles, to Puerto Rico to help with rebuilding and restoring power on the island. Oncor worked with partner utility organizations to organize and plan the assistance.
Due to Puerto Rico’s location, most of the utility employees helping with the restoration efforts were from the Gulf Coast or East Coast regions, but other mainland utilities, including SDG&E, also sent employees to support Puerto Rico’s Area Command team. The SDG&E employees assisted with coordinating multiple agencies working on the electric grid restoration process, and supported operational and strategic efforts related to the grid. This involves coordinating between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
PREPA requested mutual assistance from U.S. mainland utilities after about 80 percent of the electric grid system was destroyed or inoperable due to damage from the storm. According to EEI, about 60 investor-owned utilities contributed to the efforts, with approximately 3,000 linemen and support personnel involved in the power restoration effort.