Berks man among PPL workers heading to Puerto Rico

Lineman to help restore island's electricity

SINKING SPRING, Pa. - A Berks County man is being sent to Puerto Rico, but the time he'll spend on the island over the coming month will be far from a vacation.

The PPL Electric Utilities lineman from Sinking Spring is among more than 30 workers the company is deploying to Puerto Rico from Pennsylvania in the first wave of what could be a months-long assignment.

Their mission will be to help restore power knocked out by Hurricane Maria in September.

"I'm very proud of our people for doing this," said Greg Dudkin, the president of PPL Electric Utilities. "Many PPL employees and customers have family or friends who are affected by the widespread power outages in Puerto Rico. This is a humanitarian mission as much as it is a power restoration mission."

About two dozen PPL line trucks and other repair vehicles are being loaded onto trucks for transport to Norfolk, Virginia, where they'll be placed on a barge later this week. The voyage to Puerto Rico will then take about a week, officials said.

After 30 days, other PPL workers will travel to the island to relieve the first group.

As of Monday, 75 percent of the island's power grid was tracking to be online by the end of January and 95 percent by the end of February, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"We are committed to doing our part to help return regular electric service to all of the people of Puerto Rico," Dudkin.

PPL said it has plenty of power-restoration personnel and equipment remaining in its service territory to deal with any outages that may occur while crews are in Puerto Rico.

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