Southern Company has won an award for its contribution to restoration efforts in Puerto Rico, following the devastation caused to the island by hurricane Maria last year.
Edison Electric Institute, an association that represents U.S investor owned electric companies, presented the utility company with the 2018 Emergency Assistance Award for Puerto Rico Power Restoration.
The company was among 60 other utilities from across the country that sent personnel, equipment and resources to aide in the restoration of power to the Puerto Rico. Southern Company crews included personnel from its subsidiaries Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Gulf power, Mississippi Power and PowerSecure.
Restoration efforts were hampered by difficult terrain, making it difficult to get access to the mainland areas.
EEI president Tom Kuhn termed the mission by the mutual assistance team unprecedented, lauding the efforts by participating utilities.
“The electric power industry pulled together with one goal in mind, to restore power to the people of Puerto Rico—it truly was one team, one mission,” added Kuhn.
Towards the end of last month, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority( PREPA) announced that 99 percent of power had been restored to the island.
“The enormous commitment and hard work shown throughout our company and the entire industry was paramount in restoring Puerto Rico’s energy grid,” said Thomas Fanning, chairman of Southern Company.
The storm which made landfall in the island last September damaged 80 percent of the islands energy grid, leaving most of the island without power and resulting in the death of close to 5,000 people.
Hurricane Maria, a category 4 storm was one of the major storms of 2017, which according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association was one of the most active hurricane seasons on record.
Nearly 5,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of the hurricane.
Hurricane Maria first made landfall in the Carribean Island of Dominica as a category 5 hurricane with winds of 160 mph.
The hurricane hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a category 4 storm.
The hurricane left nearly the entire island without power.
Maria was the third costilest Atlantic Ocean hurricane in U.S. history, at $90 billion. (2005’s Katrina remains the costliest at $160 billion.)