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Delmarva Power crews heading to Puerto Rico to help restore power

Delmarva Power
Delmarva Power is sending crews and equipment to Puerto Rico.

Delmarva Power and other Pepco Holdings companies are sending crews, support personnel and equipment to help restore power to Puerto Rico, as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria.

About 25 percent of Puerto Rico’s power still needs to be restored. In addition to personnel, Delmarva Power is sending a barge of trucks and equipment down - “a small army,” said Chad Rodriguez, a journeyman line mechanic with Delmarva Power.

Rodriguez says he’s happy to play a part in helping out and he understands how crucial the effort is.

“Crime is rampant, people are desperate,” Rodriguez said. “They’re appreciative at the same time. Can you imagine being without power for this long? What would go through your mind?”

Puerto Rico has been without power for about four months. Rodriguez said he can’t even imagine the devastation.

“I’ve seen people out of power for two days,” Rodriguez said. “When we restore them, they’re clapping, giving us pizza. They see how hard we work.”

He continued, “Generally, people don’t appreciate electricity until it’s not there.”

Delmarva Power’s involvement in Puerto Rico’s recovery even hits close to home for some of its employees, like Millie Quiles, who works in claims. She has family in Puerto Rico without power.

“It means a great deal,” Quiles said. “Not because I work for the company, but this is like my family going there and leaving their family to help out my native area where I’m from.”

The crew will do everything from repairing poles to clearing bushes in and around the Caguas region.

They leave for Puerto Rico this Saturday and will stay for at least 30 days.

Quiles herself will head to Puerto Rico in about two weeks to take care of her properties, see her family and scope out the damage.

“You try to picture it, because you’ve been through these areas and you’re like ‘okay this is what it looked like.’” Quiles said. “I wonder how it looks now. It’s a reason why I want to go as well because I want to see the island. I want to take a ride. I want to see the damage myself.”

The local crew consists of about 25 linemen from Delmarva Power, Atlantic City Electric in New Jersey and Pepco in Maryland. They're part of a group of 150 personnel from their parent company, Exelon headed to Puerto Rico. According to Jake Sneeden, a spokesman for Delmarva Power, after 30 days, the crews will evaluate progress and will coordinate with Edison Electric Institute on whether they should continue their efforts or return home.

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