Burbank Water and Power will be sending several of its employees and some equipment to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help the Caribbean islands recover from the devastating hurricanes that battered them in September.
The Burbank City Council voted unanimously during a meeting on Jan. 9 to allow City Manager Ron Davis to enter into a mutual-assistance agreement with the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, which would send seven utility employees and necessary equipment to the islands for about two months to help numerous people who have been without power for several months, said Jorge Somoano, general manager of Burbank Water and Power.
The project entails helping the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority with the final stages of its restoration efforts, which are about 90% complete, Somoano said.
Somoano told council members that it is not the first time the city utility has helped an outside agency during its time of need. In 2012, several Burbank Water and Power employees were sent to New York City to assist the Long Island Power Authority in its efforts to restore power to the city after Hurricane Sandy.
The utility general manager said the mutual aid was provided to the Long Island Power Authority via a nationwide agreement, called the American Public Power Assn. Mutual Aid Agreement, which is recognized and accepted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Cesar Ancheta, the local utility’s assistant general manager of electrical distribution, said Burbank Water and Power will most likely be the only utilities agency in the state helping the Caribbean islands during the final stages of restoration efforts.
He added that the city will be fully reimbursed for its time and effort to help the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority.