BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than a dozen BGE workers are back at home Saturday after spending a month in Puerto Rico restoring power to the island.
BGE was part of an unprecedented effort as 6,000 line workers from all over the U.S. are working in Puerto Rico to get the lights back on. The island has struggled to get back on its feet after two major hurricanes knocked out power to more than 95 percent of people last year.
It was an electric welcome home for 18 Baltimore Gas and Electric line workers who returned from Puerto Rico after a month of working to restore power and hope to the struggling island.
“It was like holding back wild horses. They wanted at it, you know. They had a mission and nothing was going to get in their way,” said Eric Guy, supervisor of overhead construction.
The country of more than 3 million was decimated in September after a double punch of devastating hurricanes.
In seven weeks, BGE field crews were able to turn the lights back on for 11,000 customers who have relied on generators for seven months.
“These were going back one, two and three customers at a time. It was quite a bit of work,” BGE President and COO Steve Woerner said.
While in Puerto Rico, BGE crews worked with their own equipment. The company shipped their trucks down on barges.
Thick forests and rough terrain meant crews that had to improvise, even rappeling down mountainsides to get to wires and relying on the hospitality of those in need.
“Easter day, they came out with a bulldozer, they dozed a road for us up a mountain. They cooked for us, and helped us, instead of celebrating their holiday,” lineman Randy Moran said.
Senior Safety Specialist Rudy Johnson worked on the island for seven weeks.
“When you go to hit the switch, and you wait for a moment and you would hear the cheers like a roar through the whole entire community. You felt like a superstar, you did,” Johnson said.
They were unforgettable moments for BGE employees and those now with a light at the end of the tunnel.
Power has been about 95 percent restored to the island. A Department of Energy report from last week says just over 60,000 are still in the dark.
In total, BGE installed more than 108 miles of new circuit and more than 370 power poles.