For Immediate Release: March 26, 2018

Mission Accomplished! SMUD Line Crews Back from Puerto Rico Work

Two sets of crews complete 60-day mission restoring power on hurricane-ravaged island

Story: SMUD lineworkers just back from Puerto Rico will be available for interviews to talk about their experiences restoring power to neighborhoods that had no electricity for four to six months. SMUD will also provide media access to numerous photos and videos shot by SMUD workers during the mission. The videos include heartwarming scenes of families celebrating after finally getting electrical service again after such a long and trying time, thanks to SMUD.

Puerto Rico endured two hurricanes—Irma, and then Maria—that slammed the island last September, leaving the electrical grid in shambles. In early January, SMUD, along with other public power utilities, booked a barge in Louisiana, drove equipment there and shipped it to Puerto Rico. SMUD line crews flew to San Juan, drove two hours to the port in Ponce, collected their trucks and tools, and went to work in the Carolina part of the island.

The SMUD lineworkers will talk about why they volunteered to go, what challenges they encountered amid so much damage, and the reactions of people who treated them like heroes—holding street parties and in some cases cooking up feasts to express their sincere thanks! Come hear their stories.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.


SMUD East Campus Operations Center corporate yard, Bradshaw Rd. and Kiefer Blvd.

Interviews/ Visuals:

SMUD lineworkers back from Puerto Rico; photos and video from the mission

Background: SMUD is community-owned and has a long history of providing utilities outside its Sacramento County service territory with mutual-aid assistance. SMUD’s labor, materials and other costs for the effort, are expected to be about $5 million, will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, so SMUD customers won’t be impacted financially. SMUD kept plenty of crews and equipment to respond to any power outage issues locally.

SMUD’s involvement in the Puerto Rico mission is part of the utility industry’s ongoing response as several electric companies signed onto a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the electricity provider on the island, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in ongoing efforts to restore power to the people of Puerto Rico. The MOU was developed by the American Public Power Association (APPA), the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).