Post-Hurricane Power Restoration — Puerto Rico

2017–2018

After multiple Category 3+ hurricanes decimated the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority grid in 2017, Riggs Distler quickly mobilized to help restore the island’s transmission infrastructure. Our work involved:

  • Delivery of 115 pieces of equipment and 90 full-time employees
  • Repairing and raising downed transmission lines
  • Roadway pole replacements
  • Lattice tower installations in difficult mountainous terrain

Helicopter-assisted long lining Equipment was floated to Puerto Rico on a barge from Jacksonville, Florida, and for several months, our team lived and worked in the disaster zone.

Challenges Overcome

Conditions on the island were chaotic. Riggs Distler’s workers performed extremely dangerous jobs, repairing downed lines and equipment while maneuvering equipment around fallen trees and debris and traversing a devastated landscape. Our crew dealt with material shortages, a lack of access to running water, no power, long work days, cramped sleeping quarters, extreme heat, prolific insects, and health concerns.

As a result, the safety and welfare of our team was of paramount importance. Two Project Managers, three Supervisors, three GFs, and two Safety Managers were always on-site to provide safety guidance and support. Riggs Distler’s management in the northeast stayed in constant contact with our employees on the ground, holding daily calls to stay up-to-date and address issues as they arose. Due to the lack of available new materials, we worked with what was on-hand, repairing and repurposing existing equipment to rebuild the grid.

Results Delivered

Due to the resourcefulness and flexibility of our team, Riggs Distler was able to help restore some of the island’s power supply, despite the most difficult terrain and conditions we’ve ever encountered. We’re proud of the work we accomplished on behalf of the citizens of Puerto Rico, as well as the dedication and commitment of our team to restore essential services in the aftermath of a disaster.