Kentucky Power and AEP to participate in Puerto Rico restoration
Trucks from AEP companies are in Portsmouth, Virginia, where they will be loaded onto barges headed for Puerto Rico.

ASHLAND, Ky. – Kentucky Power is among U.S. utilities sending crews to Puerto Rico to assist with ongoing restoration after Hurricane Maria hit the island in September. Eight line personnel from Ashland, Pikeville and Hazard will be among 50 American Electric Power personnel who will be working in the Caguas region of Puerto Rico beginning in January.

“Our Kentucky Power employees work in some of the toughest terrain in the United States and have expertise that is especially needed in Puerto Rico,” said Kentucky Power President Matt Satterwhite. “They are experts in making repairs in remote areas inaccessible by bucket trucks and have extensive pole climbing experience. Kentucky Power wanted to be sure to provide its unique expertise to assist our brothers and sisters in need in Puerto Rico while still ensuring we have adequate staffing in Kentucky to provide safe and reliable service at home.  It is a balance we think we properly weighed.”

Some of the equipment from AEP’s operating companies, including Kentucky Power, was in Portsmouth, Virginia, on Friday awaiting loading onto barges headed to Puerto Rico. Crews will fly to Puerto Rico in early January. Restoration is to begin Jan. 15 after crews pick up their equipment and participate in orientation briefings. Crews will work 12 to 16 hours a day for 30 days.

Kentucky Power’s participation in restoration efforts is through the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which will add nearly 1,500 additional workers and support personnel to accelerate ongoing power restoration efforts across the island. EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. This new wave of workers brings the total number of power restoration workers to more than 5,500 supporting the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). PREPA requested mutual assistance in early November.

“Mutual assistance among power companies is vital because we all need assistance from outside our operations at one point or another,” Satterwhite said. “Mutual assistance allows each utility to better respond during emergencies that lead to significant damage to the energy grid.”

Electric companies providing mutual assistance do so on a not-for-profit basis. In this case, mutual assistance is being provided to support PREPA, and companies will submit their expenses to PREPA. PREPA will then submit these expenses to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Under FEMA’s Public Assistance program, costs associated with emergency power restoration are eligible for consideration for reimbursement.

Kentucky Power, based in Ashland, serves about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties and is an operating company of the American Electric Power system. AEP, based in Columbus, Ohio, serves nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states.

Trucks from AEP companies are in Portsmouth, Virginia, where they will be loaded onto barges headed for Puerto Rico.

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