CenterPoint Energy heading to Puerto Rico to help restore power

CenterPoint Energy heading to Puerto Rico to help restore power
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - For 100 days, one-third of the island of Puerto Rico still remains in the dark after being hit by Hurricane Maria.

For some it's not just power, but the basic necessities that are still not accessible to everyone that lives there.

One local energy company plans to head out to the island for the new year to help restore power, and they are doing it with the help of the Port of Lake Charles.

Fifty-seven trucks, trailers and support vehicles are all making their way.

"It's really big," said Colby Gravatt, operations manager of electrical distribution for CenterPoint Energy. "This will be the first time that CenterPoint Energy has shipped this type of equipment."

They're all making their way to the Port of Lake Charles.

"We're all susceptible to natural disasters, hurricanes, tornadoes, wind events, ice events, and at any given time we want to be able to restore service to our customers like any other company," said Gravatt.

So CenterPoint Energy, along with eight other electrical companies, will be shipping out their utility vehicles to Puerto Rico to help restore power to the island.

"There's three barges that will be arriving and then they'll put down ramps, and they'll actually just drive the trucks onto the barge and then they'll leave and head down to Puerto Rico," said Todd Henderson, director of operations for the Port of Lake Charles.

In total 400 trucks with more than 1,500 linemen and utility crew workers from those nine electrical companies will make their way to Puerto Rico.

While this is a huge opportunity for CenterPoint Energy and also the Port of Lake Charles, those heading to Puerto Rico know it's about helping out, and making sure power is fully restored moving into the new year.

"This is not anything new for linemen and our management and safety professionals - this is what we do every day," said Gravatt. "This is a little different capacity and unfamiliar territory, and that's about it."

The Port of Lake Charles hopes to lead all the trucks onto the barges to ship out around Tuesday. They say it should take no more than two weeks to get all the trucks and their equipment to Puerto Rico.

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