Mississippi Power’s team assisting with service restoration in Puerto Rico has delivered power to its first customers after a month of making repairs in remote, mountainous terrain on the island.
“We have been working extremely hard since we’ve been here and making a lot of progress, so it was a great feeling to get to the point where we were able to turn on some lights,” said Engineering Supervisor Matt Ball. “This was a huge boost for everyone. The customers were very pleased and appreciative.
“We are waiting for the substation where we were working previously to be energized so that we can close our fuses and have a victory lap there.”
The team has moved to a new feeder assignment, working with a team from Gulf Power.
Ball said the new job includes 25 spans winding up a mountain.
“Luckily, the wire is up for most of the spans,” Ball said. “Tree trimming will be the primary focus with some leaning poles, burnt jumpers, slack phases and secondary on the ground.”
President and CEO Anthony Wilson recently went to Puerto Rico to visit with the crew.
“This team is showing the people of Puerto Rico what our customers have known for a long time — our company shines in storm restoration,” Wilson said. “They are representing every Mississippi Power employee by being here, and I wanted to tell them in person how proud we are of them.”
Wilson met the company’s crew in Maricao, where they were working on setting a new pole, picking up primary and secondary conductor, and setting two transformers for a water well.
During Wilson’s visit, the crew also put a blue tarp on the tiny house of a woman who lost her roof when Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September.
“Sometimes it goes beyond restoring power,” Wilson said. “On occasion, it’s about helping restore someone’s life. This poor woman lived alone deep in the mountains with no one to help her and with no roof over her head for months. Every time it rained, it rained in her home – and it rains just about every day. The guys got tremendous satisfaction from helping that woman. It was very emotional.”
Wilson had dinner with the crew and joined them for breakfast the following morning before returning to Mississippi.
“I enjoyed hearing the stories of their experiences there and the stories about what a big difference we are making down there, not just our team but also all of the Southern Company crews that are there working,” Wilson said.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeastern Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.