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APS sending more crews to Puerto Rico to restore power after Hurricane Maria

Posted at 6:24 AM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 12:18:10-05

Roughly 50 APS employees packed their bags Wednesday morning to head to Puerto Rico.

The company is sending a crew to help restore power after much of the island has been without electricity since September of 2017 after Hurricane Maria.

The employees gathered at the APS Deer Valley Operations Center near the Interstate 17 and Peoria Avenue beginning around 4:00 a.m. Wednesday to get on a bus bound for the airport.

"This is a six-week commitment for the people that are leaving," APS employee Mike Cole said. "They're leaving family and friends behind and really they're leaving, in a sense, civilization because they're going to a country that has been without power for several months now."

APS Spokesperson Annie DeGraw said that this operation has been in the works for weeks as there were plenty of moving parts to make this happen. 

"It's not just the people we have to get down there. We have to get all the trucks; all of the equipment," Annie DeGraw told ABC15. "So, they actually worked hard over Christmas to get this all down there. We have an advanced crew that left on Monday to make sure our trucks get safely to port and get to where they need to be."

One of the employees going out there is Walter Martinez. He is a supervisor with APS, but he's also a husband and father to two children. His youngest is only 6 months old. 

"Well, I ran it by the wife and so we talked about it," explained Martinez. "And so we recognized the sacrifice we have to make, but we saw that it's a good thing and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to go help, you know, on a job this big."

The team is expected to be back in early March.