Officials inspect damage in the days following Hurricane Maria. Source: NYPAOfficials inspect damage in the days following Hurricane Maria. Source: NYPA

The American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) received a letter October 31 from Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) CEO Ricardo Ramos requesting assistance in bringing resources to Puerto Rico to support power restoration on the island.

EEI President Tom Kuhn says the organization is already working with member companies to mobilize crews, equipment and technical experts in response to the letter.

APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly, says, “We look forward to working with PREPA, our government partners and the industry to support the ongoing power restoration process.”

(Read "Puerto Rico's Power Is Slow to Return After Maria.")

Scott Aaronson, executive director for Security and Business Continuity at EEI, and Mike Hyland, senior vice president for Engineering Services at APPA were designated as primary points of contact for coordinating with the electric power industry on the mainland United States.

Separately, Montana-based Whitefish Energy agreed October 31 that when its work currently underway has been completed, subcontractors who wish to remain on the island "should certainly be allowed to continue" either under management by PREPA directly or any entity designated to manage and direct future work. Until that time, Whitefish Energy has agreed to manage the work during the wind-down process.

Puerto Rico’s government power company said October 29 that it would cancel a $300 million contract with Whitefish, which received the no-bid contract to rebuild the island’s electric power grid after Hurricane Maria.

The contract between Whitefish Energy Holdings and PREPA was criticized by local officials and U.S. federal authorities.

The letter to APPA and EEI seeking assistance notes that extensive portions of the transmission network in Puerto Rico run through rugged, mountainous terrain with little or no road access. Much of the infrastructure will need to be rebuilt before power can be restored. While this is not a typical restoration process, APPA says, "we are fully committed to overcoming those challenges and bringing our experience and resources to Puerto Rico.”