FEMA and ASPA "Throw The Switch" At The Satala Power Plant

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Release date: 
November 27, 2009
Release Number: 
1859-013

Pago Pago, AS -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) “threw the switch” at the Satala power plant today by activating 18 one-megawatt generators, thus commencing Tier II of a three-tiered power restoration plan for American Samoa.  

The Sept. 29, 2009, earthquake, tsunami and subsequent flooding severely damaged the Satala Power Plant for an indefinite period of time. The loss of the Satala Power Plant left the island of Tutuila with insufficient electrical generation for approximately 50% of its customer base. As a result, ASPA was forced to run its Tafuna Power Plant at full capacity, which under normal operating conditions, runs at about 80 percent capacity to cover surge power demands. The additional demand on the Tafuna plant significantly increased the chances of a total system failure; prompting FEMA and ASPA to develop the three-tier power restoration plan.

Tier I of the power restoration plan involved air lifting 56 FEMA generators via military aircraft. The intent of Tier I was to meet immediate power needs. Small- to- medium sized generators were installed throughout the island to provide critical power to schools, government and community agencies, sewage stations and water wells. 

Tier II of the plan included the delivery, installation and activation of 27 Aggreko one-megawatt generators. Eighteen are located at the Satala Power Plant with the remaining nine at the Tafuna plant. Tier II will be fully implemented once all 27 generators are activated, at which time the FEMA generators installed as part of Tier I will be shipped back to the mainland in the coming weeks. The Aggreko generators will remain in place for 18-24 months. 

Tier III of the power restoration plan for American Samoa will involve determining if the Satala Power plant can be repaired or will need to be replaced. The U.S. Department of Energy is providing assistance to ASPA in the planning of the Satala Plant replacement.

“The Tier I generators gave us the quick fix we needed to guarantee emergency power for American Samoa,” said FEMA’s acting Federal Coordinating Officer, Michael H. Smith. “Tier II provides us larger generators for sustainable power production as ASPA develops its final Tier III power solution.”

The American Samoa Power Authority will be reimbursed by FEMA for at least 75 percent of the cost under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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