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Minnesota Power crews to travel to Puerto Rico, joining industry power restoration mission

Submitted / Minnesota Power

Nearly 20 Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power lineworkers and support staff will be traveling to Puerto Rico in early January to help restore power as part of the first major wave of mainland industry assistance for the U.S. territory hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Twelve Minnesota Power lineworkers, one Superior Water Light and Power lineworker and one supervisor will be departing on Jan. 12 for Puerto Rico, where they will be united with six Minnesota Power line trucks, a mechanic’s truck, two pickup trucks and other equipment that will be shipped to the island earlier. They will be accompanied for support by a mechanic, an engineer and a logistics expert.

On Christmas Day, nine employees left Duluth and Little Falls to drive vehicles, tools and other equipment to the Port of Chickasaw, near Mobile Alabama, where the vehicles and equipment will be shipped by barge to the island. The crews are expected to arrive in Alabama on Wednesday, Dec. 27, with the materials to be shipped later this week.

The Minnesota Power crews will spend at least 30 days in Puerto Rico, where some people have been without power for more than 90 days since Hurricane Irma hit in early September. Irma was followed about two weeks later by the more-destructive Hurricane Maria that knocked out power to most of the island.

Minnesota Power, an ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) company, immediately offered to send the crews after a mid-December call for personnel by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Minnesota Power’s call for volunteers then filled quickly as lineworkers and drivers to get trucks to the port committed to the effort just a few days before Christmas.