Eighty Oncor employees, including two area workers, are headed to Puerto Rico as part of an effort to restore power to the island following Hurricane Maria’s landfall in September, according to area manager Karl Green.
According to a news release, approximately 70 Oncor trucks were loaded onto barges last week in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and shipped to the island. The trip will take approximately 10 days.
Beginning next week, approximately 80 Oncor personnel will fly to Puerto Rico to meet the trucks and begin restoration work, the release said.
Oncor is a regulated electric transmission and distribution service provider that serves nearly 10 million customers across Texas, including the Fort Hood area. The company’s distribution system is comprised of approximately 134,000 miles of lines and more than 3.45 million meters across the state.
The volunteers' work will focus on the Arecibo area of the island, located in the northern coastal plain region. The participating Oncor employees volunteered from locations all across the utility’s service area.
“Oncor is honored and humbled to be able to lend our employees, equipment and expertise to this important effort,” the release said. “Oncor has been in discussion with partner utility organizations since the storm to organize and plan our assistance.”
According to the Associated Press, 660,000 customers were still without power on the island as of Dec. 31 — approximately 45 percent of all customers.
Hurricane Maria made landfall Sept. 20 with winds as high as 154 mph, severely damaging 2,400 miles of transmission lines, 30,000 miles of distribution lines and 342 substations, an AP report said.
Oncor’s personnel are part of a 1,500-volunteer push to restore power to the island, joining the 3,500 volunteers already on the island. Oncor personnel will team up with volunteers from Houston-based CenterPoint and Oklahoma Gas & Electric.
“Oncor, CenterPoint and OG&E have a long history of working together in difficult situations to provide restoration service to hard hit areas,” the release said.