JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Millions of people are still without power in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria slammed the island more than two weeks ago. On Sunday, 41 JEA linemen flew from Cecil Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico to help restore power.
More than 90 percent of the island is still without power. Crews will be focusing on rebuilding the electrical grid, which is a compared to the backbone of the network.
“It’s gonna be rough I mean it’s 100% devastation over there,” said JEA Foreman, Robert Hess. “We’re going to go over there to try to get a plan set forth to try to get this restoration on as quick as possible.”
The linemen volunteered to go on the assignment. They will work 16-hour shifts every day for the next 30 days to help Puerto Ricans find a sense of normalcy.
“Our role will be to restoring power, to setting poles, to building steel structures, to pulling wire, to services to residential houses,” Hess said.
“They’re not sure what they’re going to encounter. They’re going to go into areas and they may be the first responders going in and they’re prepared for the worst,” said JEA’s VP of Electrical Systems, Mike Brost.
The men make up about 20 percent of JEA’s workforce. The utility company plans to send more rotations through January and may send more aid after. JEA said it could take up to a year for the US territory to finally return to normal.