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Hurricane Maria, a devastating Category 4 storm, made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, impacting all critical infrastructure and damaging at least 80 percent of the island's energy grid. On June 26, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) announced that power has been restored to 99.84 percent of its customers across the island who can receive electricity. This is a significant milestone that was reached by PREPA and its restoration partners, including FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its contractors, and industry mutual assistance crews.

The damage caused by Hurricane Maria is unlike anything we have ever seen on the mainland United States, and this power restoration mission has been more difficult than other restoration efforts. Nearly 60 investor-owned electric companies and public power utilities committed crews, equipment, and/or materials to the emergency power restoration mission. Overall, approximately 3,000 industry lineworkers and support personnel were involved in the restoration effort on the island.

Industry mutual assistance crews have finished their mission and have returned to the mainland. It is common in any restoration effort (in Puerto Rico or on the mainland) for mutual assistance crews to be released as the restoration work winds down. The restoration plan ensures that PREPA and the remaining contractor crews now are converging into the hardest-hit areas and that the right number of crews and workers remain actively engaged and continue to work safely and as quickly as possible.

Read about the restoration mission in Puerto Rico from Carlos D. Torres, an EEI consultant and Puerto Rico power restoration coordinator, in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives.

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