Washington, D.C. September 26, 2017 – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) today sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry urging his Department “to work expeditiously with electric utilities across the U.S. to assist the local electric and power utilities and authorities in Puerto Rico to help restore electric services as quickly as possible in the wake of Hurricane Maria.”
The letter reads in full:
Dear Secretary Perry:
We write to urge the Department of Energy (DOE) to work expeditiously with electric utilities across the U.S. to assist the local electric and power utilities and authorities in Puerto Rico to help restore electric services as quickly as possible in the wake of Hurricane Maria. We also urge DOE to leverage all existing resources at our national laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to aid in these restorative efforts.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and surrounding islands as a Category 4 storm. The electric grid in Puerto Rico sustained substantial damage and much of the island remains without power, endangering lives and delaying the recovery process.
Reports indicate that the hurricane destroyed the vast majority of transmission lines, power lines, and other critical aspects of Puerto Rico’s electric grid. The executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has estimated restoration of power could take at least three or four months, leaving more than 3 million Americans without power on the island for that time.
A natural disaster in Puerto Rico should be treated no differently than a natural disaster anywhere else in the United States. We must mobilize all available federal resources to aid in recovery efforts and your Department will play a critical role as we work to bring stability to the island and relief for our fellow Americans.