Puerto Rico taps Con Ed veteran to oversee PREPA recovery

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Carlos Torres, who oversaw the restoration of power in New York City after Superstorm Sandy, has been appointed to lead the hurricane disaster response at Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

Torres will be the "Single Point of Contact" for rehabilitating the island’s power system, responsible for coordinating electrical restoration, logistics, and execution efforts, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a statement last week.

As of Sunday 58% of customers on the island had electrical service, more than two months after Hurricane Maria left nearly all the island without power.

Torres worked for Consolidated Edison for 30 years, including 10 years as vice president of emergency preparedness and business resiliency.

Consolidated Edison, or Con Ed as it is generally known, provides electrical service to New York City and Westchester County, to the north.

Torres oversaw the emergency response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the 2003 blackout in the northeastern U.S., Hurricane Irene, and Superstorm Sandy. Sandy hit the largest U.S. city in late October 2012, leaving Downtown and lower Midtown Manhattan, as well as large swaths of the four outer boroughs, without electricity.

Since leaving Con Ed, Torres has worked for Edison Electric Institute as the Power Restoration Coordinator. Edison is the private electrical industry’s main professional association.

Rosselló said he welcomed “the availability of engineer Torres to take on this important task at a time when Puerto Rico needs it most. We wish him complete success in this new task, because it will be the success of all Puerto Rico.”

On Nov. 20 the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s board of directors appointed David Owens as chief of a Transformation Advisory Council planned for the authority. Owens recently retired as executive vice president of the Edison Electric Institute. The board also ratified Justo González Torres as PREPA interim executive director.

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