Southern Company (No. 44 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) has announced that lineworkers and support staff from each of Southern Company’s four electric operating companies Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power and Mississippi Power will be deployed toPuerto Rico. Personnel arrived inPuerto RicoJan. 20, to help restore power safely and as quickly as possible to areas impacted by Hurricane Maria as part of an industry mutual assistance effort coordinated through the Edison Electric Institute.
As part of this effort, onJan. 3, Southern Company launched a barge from the Port ofChickasawinMobile, Alabama, filled with trucks, tools and support equipment. That vessel arrived inPuerto RicoonJan. 15in order for those much-needed supplies to be ready for the additional lineworkers and staff.
“Southern Company is proud to increase our assistance to the citizens ofPuerto Rico,” said Chairman, President and CEOThomas A. Fanning. “In the face of this enormous challenge, our employees are dedicated to the effort and determined to restore and repairPuerto Rico’senergy grid.”
Southern Company systemlineworkers and staff will work under the direction of the 10-person Incident Management Team (IMT) Southern Company deployed in early December to support Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) regional directors. That Southern Company IMT is one of seven such teams assigned to seven regions ofPuerto Ricounder coordination with PREPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The new wave of personnel will join the IMT in continued support of restoration in the Mayaguez region on the western side ofPuerto Rico.
In addition to the IMT, Southern Company’sPuerto Ricoresponse includes 400 personnel from another Southern Company subsidiary, PowerSecure, Inc., who have been working inPuerto Ricosince October under a contract with the USACE. The Southern Company systemhas been steadily involved in restoration efforts including; damage assessment, clearing debris, resetting poles, mobilizing equipment, providing temporary emergency power, ensuring adequate generation at power plants, and reinstalling and repairing transmission and distribution lines.
With this new wave of personnel, the total number of restoration workers inPuerto Ricowill increase to more than 5,500. This includes crews such as those with PowerSecure mobilized under USACE contracts, PREPA’s own resources, industry mutual assistance crews and others. Mutual assistance is a hallmark of the energy industry, playing a critical role in the restoration of the grid after major weather events. PowerSecure has extensive experience in storm restorations and has deployed crews for every named storm to hit the U.S. in the past eight years.
Southern Company remains committed to the people ofPuerto Ricoand to this massive, unprecedented restoration undertaking.