CenterPoint sends repair crews to Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO (KTRK) -- Today, 57 CenterPoint trucks started the 2,000-mile journey to Puerto Rico, where Houston crews will work to help restore power to the island devastated by Hurricane Maria 100 days ago.

The trucks will travel by barge for two weeks. When they arrive in mid-January, 68 CenterPoint workers will fly to the island to begin training. They'll work 16-hour shifts for six weeks, rotating as they need rest.

"This is really part of who we are and what we do," said Steve Greenley with CenterPoint Energy.

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CenterPoint is sending crews to Puerto Rico to restore power after Hurricane Maria.

Thousands are still without power, though it's unknown how high the exact number is. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz has called federal response inadequate. She slammed President Donald Trump, calling him "Disaster-In-Chief."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says 100 percent of power will likely not be restored until the end of May.

"We want to be part of helping solve the problem. We know it's been a long time. The logistics of a restoration effort like this are very complex so it does take time to get the right people, the right materials, the right equipment in place," Greenley said.

The biggest challenge for crews from Houston is just getting to the island. They'll have to navigate rough, mountainous terrain, and in some cases, deal with little or no road access. Regardless, crews are eager to go.

"Really ready to start the work and help get Puerto Rico back on its feet," Greenley said.

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