San Diego to Puerto Rico for a Once-in-a-Lifetime Mission

When Puerto Rico put out a call for help after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, one of our own raised her hand and volunteered to join thousands of utility workers from across America to help restore power there.

This week, as part of the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Downtown San Diego, a special ceremony was held to recognize the approximately 3,000 industry line workers and support personnel – including SDG&E’s Monica Garcia – who were involved in the massive power restoration effort in Puerto Rico.

One Team, One Mission

As the Incident Management Team Data Analyst with responsibility for all storm damage intelligence, Garcia played a pivotal role in supporting the many operational and strategic decisions that must be made to restore power.

She volunteered for the Puerto Rico mission along with Janisse QuiƱones Mercado, SDG&E’s former director of planning, design, construction and vegetation management.

“I am so proud to be a part of this team that I now consider my family,” said Garcia, who works as a senior business analyst at SDG&E. “When I arrived in Puerto Rico, I was surprised to see the level of destruction, but the residents on the island were so welcoming and resilient and believed in us! I still think back to the people I met and am thankful that I could help make a positive impact.”

As most team members have returned to their home state, it is reported that 99.34% of Puerto Rico now has power.

Watch this moving tribute put together by the Edison Electric Institute, chronicling the work of the “One Team, One Mission” team.


Still in recovery mode


The devastating Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, impacting all critical infrastructure, damaging at least 80 percent of the island’s energy grid, and leaving all island residents without power.

Nearly 60 investor-owned electric companies and public power utilities committed crews, equipment, and materials to the emergency power restoration mission. Utility representatives faced incredibly challenging and complex restoration work because extensive portions of Puerto Rico’s energy grid are in rugged, mountainous terrain that has little or no road access.