Local News

'We want to get out there:' Duke Energy employees volunteer to restore power in Puerto Rico

Posted January 14, 2018 4:40 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 9:56 a.m. EDT

— It’s been several months since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and many on the island are still struggling without basic necessities, including running water and power.

For those still living in the dark in Puerto Rico, help can’t come soon enough, but thanks to Duke Energy, more relief is on the way.

“It’s our duty to go and help them, help out where we can. We give help, get help,” said Herb Rouse with Duke Energy.

Thirty-five Duke Energy linemen and other support personnel left Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Sunday and headed to Charlotte to pick up 35 more. Their final destination was Puerto Rico, in an effort to rebuild the power grid on the storm-ravaged island.

“To know at your house, you’ve got running water, you’ve got electricity, you want to help the folks who don’t have it and get their lives back to normal as soon as possible,” Rouse said.

The Duke Energy employees will spend roughly 45 to 60 days in Puerto Rico and will typically work 16 hours on and 8 hours off for the entire duration of the trip.

“These were volunteers. We didn’t force any member of these teams and say ‘Hey, you need to go sacrifice your personal life for 60 days.’ They volunteered for that,” said Tim Tripp with Duke Energy.

The crews know they will face challenges on the island, but said they are ready to get out there to help restore some sense of normalcy to Puerto Rico.

“We want to get out there. We want to get the power back on quickly, safely and get people back to their normal lives,” said Juan Rosada with Duke Energy.

The trip to Puerto Rico is part of a bigger effort by Duke Energy as personnel from operations in the Midwest, Carolinas and Florida will all take part. In total, 200 employees are headed to Puerto Rico this week, in addition to about 100 lineman previously sent to the island.