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Powering Up Puerto Rico

by on February 8, 2018

Members of the AEP Texas crew at the staging area in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

(Story by Bailey Cultice)

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico — AEP crews are receiving warm welcomes from the people of Puerto Rico. More than 60 employees arrived on the island January 27 and have been working to restore power in the Caguas region, about 20 miles south of San Juan.

“Morale is high among our team and they’re doing good work,” said Phil Lewis, emergency restoration planning manager, who has been working on the team to coordinate AEP’s response to get personnel, equipment and supplies to Puerto Rico. “The progress we’re making is much appreciated. People are celebrating and cheering when our crews turn back on the power.”

It’s easy to see the joy Puerto Ricans are feeling in a video from Bryan Mason, safety and health consultant for AEP Ohio. Locals gathered around AEP Ohio line mechanics and cheered when they snapped fuses back into place. Crews say the residents are gracious and helpful, even bringing lunch to different sites.

“The people of Puerto Rico are so grateful and appreciative of the work that we are doing.  It’s truly amazing and very rewarding,” said Chris Baucom, safety and health manager, Public Service Company of Oklahoma. “This has been an experience of a lifetime and I’m so thankful that we are down here not only helping to restore power, but also to help restore normalcy to the lives of the great people here in Puerto Rico.”

Baucom is a member of AEP’s Incident Management Team (IMT) and has been on the island since January 6, working as the site safety representative. He said crews are doing well handling the conditions on the island. They realize the unique hazards they’re facing and are doing a great job to prepare for them during pre-job briefs.

According to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), service has been restored to more than 70 percent of the customers in Puerto Rico. That’s more than one million customers. Some people have been without power since September when Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

From → News From AEP

One Comment
  1. Way to go team – sounds like a great experience!

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