JEA Sends Linemen, Equipment To Puerto Rico For Hurricane Maria Recovery Efforts

Oct 3, 2017

Jacksonville utility JEA is sending more than 40 workers to assist in power restoration efforts on the island of Puerto Rico.

Battered by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the majority of Caribbean island’s 3.5 million American citizens are still without power and the commonwealth’s utility PREPA hasn’t had the funds to modernize the grid and lacks the number of workers required to make the repairs, reports Business Insider.

The River City has a close relationship with the island nation, who is a significant trading partner for companies operating out of JAXPORT.

In a news release Tuesday, JEA officials said the workers will work 30-day tours on the island before rotating out. JEA has committed assets for up to three months.

“This is what our linemen do and they have been widely recognized for their abilities and dedication. They build and restore electric service in difficult situations. They will be working in extremely dangerous conditions doing extremely dangerous work,” JEA CEO Paul McElroy wrote in a statement to WJCT News. “They are the electric industry’s first responders, and Jacksonville is very proud of them.”

Crowley Maritime is loading and transporting JEA vehicles from a central staging area on Tuesday provided by JAXPORT and JEA employees are flying to Puerto Rico from Jacksonville on Thursday to meet the ship on arrival, according to the release.

The move follows weeks of 16 to 18 hour days for lineman working to restore power along the First Coast following Hurricane Irma.

Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, at (904) 358 6319 or on Twitter at @RyanMichaelBenk.