NPU lends a hand with power restoration in Puerto Rico

Latest effort follows extended support in US Virgin Islands

NORWICH – Throughout January and February of this year, Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) dispatched several rotations of two- and three-employee teams to Puerto Rico as part of an industry-wide effort to assist with power restoration for an island that was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria over a two-week period last September.

NPU participated as a member of the American Public Power Association, which is supporting the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) in the restoration effort along with other mainland utilities and the federal government.

“Whenever NPU has the capacity and the ability to provide mutual aid to another utility and to help thousands of people in need, we will,” said John Bilda, General Manager of NPU. “We are proud to provide support to the residents of Puerto Rico during this unprecedented time.”

The NPU crews worked primarily in Carolina – on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico – under one of seven Incident Management Teams set up by the electric industry. Carolina has a population of approximately 113,000.

Approximately 1,500 utility workers from the mainland United States – including lineworkers and others from public power utilities and investor-owned utilities – deployed to Puerto Rico alone to help PREPA restore electric service.

In early January, NPU delivered a bucket truck to Norfolk, Virginia which was later placed on a barge for transport to Puerto Rico, which arrived in late January.

NPU provided extensive mutual aid to the US Virgin Islands in the Fall of 2018, with numerous linemen spending time in St. Thomas, restoring power to thousands of residents that were also impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.