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News July 20, 2023

PUD Crews Make Radical Difference in Guam 

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PUD Crews Make Radical Difference in Guam 

After thirty-seven sixteen-hour days without a day off, Snohomish PUD crews recently returned home for much-needed rest after a job well done. During their time in Guam, crews were able to repair all five major transmission lines that cross the island – repairs that were essential to restoration efforts.  It’s hard to say exactly how much longer it would have taken to restore power to Guam’s residents without the PUD’s contribution, but it’s safe to say it would have taken significantly longer.

In the end, the PUD was the only utility to answer the call for mutual aid from the contiguous United States. Mutual aid is a critical tool utilized by utilities to get help during times of intense outages, such as major storms or natural disasters. For example, last November during a major winter storm, the PUD received mutual aid assistance from utilities across Washington. Expenses for mutual aid are paid for by the utility receiving aid, in this case the Guam Power Authority (GPA). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) covered the costs for transporting crews, vehicles and supplies. They will also likely reimburse GPA for costs they incurred throughout storm recovery.

Our highly trained and capable crew, equipment, and trucks were desperately needed for restoration efforts.

“Our crew knocked it out of the park,” said Scott Packebush, Line Foreman. “We were on highline the entire time. It was huge work with heavy insulators. We were often working on five or six structures at the same time to get the wire work done. The way our team worked together was incredible.”

The PUD’s tremendous contributions to the restoration effort were met with gratitude and accolades from the residents of Guam.

“The Guam Power Authority treated us grand, and the people of Guam were very supportive and appreciative of the sacrifice our crew made to provide them with much-needed help,” said Greg Ruiz, Line Construction General Foreman.

In addition to daily deliveries of local treats and desserts, Guam Power Authority (GPA) made sure to go above and beyond to formally thank the crews.

“We are very grateful for the support and the hard work of the Snohomish PUD crew on the 115KV transmission line that is critical in reaching full restoration,” said Joleen Cruz, Administrative Officer at the Guam Power Authority. “This sentiment is echoed by our government; we’re pleased to share that the Snohomish PUD crew were presented certificates of appreciation from the Chairman on Utilities, Senator Parkinson on Thursday, July 13.  Later that evening, they joined GPA management at the Governor’s House for an appreciation event.  And lastly, an informal gathering of appreciation with the entire restoration team was held this past weekend before their departure home to Washington.”

Guam Power Authority will also be passing resolutions in August thanking everyone, including Snohomish PUD, for the assistance in support of Typhoon Mawar Recovery.

Though the environment was different, and the damage was like nothing our crew members had experienced before, the PUD crew did what they always do – they showed up and did the job. A job that we know made a genuine difference in the lives of the residents of Guam.