Hurricane Maria came ashore with sustained winds of 155 mph, knocking out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico barely two weeks after Hurricane Irma left one million people without power. A Category 5 hurricane, Maria completely destroyed Puerto Rico’s fragile power grid, leaving all 3.6 million residents without electricity.
Rimco is the Cat® dealer for Puerto Rico, Cuba, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Barbados and other islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Thanks to the tireless efforts, critical power needs were met throughout the island at hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, data processors, restaurants, hotels, and countless others.
“Customers called us with a sense of urgency, and in some cases, desperation,” recalls Hector Rivera, rental manager for Rimco. “After the storm, their lives had just changed. Our job was to reassure customers that we could help and that they were not alone.”
The power and reach of Caterpillar
With the unprecedented demand for power, Rimco received assistance from Caterpillar, who expedited genset deliveries. The Cat Rental Power network delivered rental power not only from Cat dealers in the U.S., but also from countries such as Colombia and Panama. And as one of FEMA’s major suppliers, Caterpillar Defense Products sent 349 rental generator sets to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
With enormous customer demand came increased demand for maintenance personnel. Technicians from Carolina Cat and Barbados arrived to assist with generator maintenance and repair.
Meeting critical needs
Customers who were not able to find a solution anywhere else in Puerto Rico were able to find it at Rimco Cat. It shows the difference that a distributor who has been in business for over 35 years can make, backed by a company like Caterpillar. In a situation like this, what really made the difference to customers is the fact that Caterpillar had built an infrastructure and a team of people and products that nobody else in this market has.