Guaynabo, Puerto Rico –─ The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved nearly $600 million for the purchase of materials and equipment needed to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid. The federal share will allow for the advance purchase of materials, so that resources will be available once the reconstruction work begins.
Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, José G. Baquero, explained that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has already submitted to the agency an initial list of materials and equipment that are currently in short supply, that usually have a long-lead time or that could be impacted by future events.
“This is an extensive requirement which includes the areas of transmission and distribution, substations and telecommunications. The goal is to have the materials in time for the work to begin. We are very excited to see how the work is beginning to take shape,” said the official.
Among the materials included in this project are about 2,500 circuit miles of transmission lines, roughly 23 miles of submarine cable for the municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, over 300 substations, nearly 200,000 transformers and nearly 13,400 miles of feeders, among other necessary equipment.
Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, Executive Director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), said, "This obligation is the result of the active and proactive work we have executed together with PREPA, FEMA and the close collaboration with LUMA. I reiterate that the reconstruction of the electrical grid has already begun and the purchase of the equipment under this significant obligation will allow for the streamlined development of other projects. Currently, we have disbursed $1.6 billion in emergency categories and $7.1 million for permanent works. As the projects move forward in their development, and PREPA or LUMA submit their requests for reimbursement, we will promptly address them so that the money disbursed will continue to further the reconstruction of other infrastructure in the electric system.
These funds are in addition to 18 other projects to restore the power grid for a total of over $700 million. The electric system reconstruction also has an additional $9.6 million for mitigation measures, such as replacing poles with ones that can withstand winds of up to 160 miles per hour, emergency generators to prevent damage to replacement batteries at substations, and the elevation of substations located in flood zones.
FEMA has approved over $12.8 billion to PREPA for permanent and emergency work to address damages from Hurricane Maria and the 2020 Earthquakes. Of this total, $9.4 billion was awarded through FEMA's Accelerated Awards Strategy (FAAST).
For more information on Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane María, please visit fema.gov/es/disaster/4339 and recuperacion.pr. Follow our social media pages at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and Twitter @COR3pr.