SMUD crews and equipment going to Puerto Rico to aid hurricane-related power restoration
Sacramento’s electric company committing lineworkers, trucks and equipment to help get the lights back on
SMUD shipped 15 utility trucks to Lake Charles, Louisiana last weekend where they will be loaded onto a barge for the voyage to Ponce, Puerto Rico, which is expected to take about 10 days.
SMUD, along with the American Public Power Association, is working with other public power utilities to send crews to restore power in Puerto Rico as the island U.S. territory continues to rebuild after Hurricane Maria hit last September. SMUD is a not-for-profit public power electric utility and a member of the APPA.
The trucks will be off-loaded at Ponce’s port, and then, more than a dozen SMUD lineworkers will fly to Puerto Rico, gather their trucks and tools, and head into the island interior to begin restoration work.
While most of the power outages in the island’s largest city, San Juan, have been restored, SMUD, along with Richmond (Indiana) Power and Light, Norwich (Connecticut) Public Utility and Commonwealth Utilities of the Northern Mariana Islands will be doing power restoration work in the territory’s suburban and rural areas. SMUD and the other utilities’ work is expected to take two months or more. SMUD will rotate its crews after about 30 days and replace them with fresh personnel.
SMUD’s involvement is part of the utility industry’s ongoing response as several electric companies have 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 APPA, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). It serves as a plan that allows electric companies on the mainland (that are members of APPA, EEI, or NRECA) to enter into emergency agreements to provide resources and workers to PREPA on a not-for-profit basis.
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, which 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 will also have plenty of crews and equipment to respond to any power outage issues locally.
For news media: SMUD has HD b-roll video and photos available upon request of heavy duty line trucks and equipment being loaded with tools and then onto trailers for shipment to Puerto Rico. SMUD is also providing subject matter expert access to news media interested in doing interviews for this story.