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APS workers to begin helping Puerto Rico fix power in coming days

(Twitter Photo/@APSFYI)

PHOENIX — Arizona Public Service workers were expected to being helping crews restore power to thousands in Puerto Rico in the coming days.

“That’s linemen, support staff, that’s safety people — every need that comes up with a deployment like this, we have someone taking care of it,” Franklin Sanderson, APS’ manager of metro distribution and maintenance, said.

The 50 workers left for the island on Wednesday morning and were expected to be there for at least six weeks.

“We will be there until March 1,” Sanderson said. “These guys are spending time away from their families, but they know it’s important.”

Sanderson said the crews will be kept busy during their time on the island.

“Putting up poles, getting the lights back on, they’re going to be cleaning up a lot of the wreckage that still exists from the power structures that were there before,” he said. “They’re going to be building a whole new power grid for Puerto Rico.”

APS was asked to send workers as part of an emergency relief effort.

“We do this quite often,” he said. “(APS) responded to New York, we responded to California … We’re glad to go.”

More than 5,500 other workers were already on the island working to restore power that, for some, has been out for more than three months.

Arizona’s other large utility, Salt River Project, sent crews to help in early December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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