'Could not be more proud:' We Energies recognized nationally for restoration efforts in Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO -- We Energies has received national recognition was a result of their power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit in September.

An industry trade group, the Edison Electric Institute, honored We Energies with an "Emergency Assistance Award" at a ceremony in San Diego on June 5, according to a news release from We Energies officials.

According to the release, We Energies, along with their sister company Wisconsin Public Service, sent more than 70 employees to Puerto Rico in January. They joined crews from nearly 60 other electric companies in what would become our company’s longest restoration mission to date. The majority of employees spent eight weeks restoring power in Puerto Rico.

“We could not be more proud of our employees for dedicating two months of their lives to this humanitarian mission,” said Gale Klappa, our chairman and CEO. “This was an unprecedented effort for us, sending crews and equipment outside the continental United States for the first time in our company’s history.”

Aside from the awards ceremony, EEI organized a recognition event for Puerto Rico restoration workers at a San Diego Padres game. Line workers from dozens of utilities, including We Energies’ Kim Higginbotham and WPS’ Chris Fernandez, lined the field for the first pitch, according to the release.

On May 22, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) announced that power had been restored across the island to 99 percent of its customers who could receive electricity.