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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

COR3: $87 million in T&D projects have been presented to FEMA for approval

Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Executive Director Manuel Laboy Rivera

By The Star Staff

The executive director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3) says 16 transmission and distribution (T&D) projects worth some $87 million have been presented for the approval of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Manuel Laboy Rivera refuted claims made by FEMA following last week’s total island blackout to the effect that neither the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) nor LUMA Energy have presented T&D projects to FEMA following a $9 billion reconstruction allocation provided in 2020.

Laboy Rivera said PREPA has presented $47 million in generation projects as part of efforts to rebuild the Puerto Rico power grid. Of those 24 projects, 19 have a detailed scope of work, which is required by FEMA to evaluate the project.

“As part of the teamwork between the Electric Power Authority, LUMA and FEMA, we meet frequently to follow up on all the projects that are developed for the renovation of the electrical system,” Laboy Rivera said. “Let’s remember that each project must first be presented and approved by the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, which is the independent regulatory body, to ensure compliance with the public energy policy (Law 17-2019).”

The FEMA process requires projects to be submitted to them with preliminary information in order to be recognized in their system. That first step does not mean that they have been approved, or that they are ready for FEMA’s evaluation. To date 183 projects have been processed and presented in a preliminary manner by LUMA and PREPA, which began the process required by FEMA in accordance with FEMA’s National Deliverable Model.

The breakdown of the projects is as follows:

Reconstruction projects for power T&D submitted by LUMA to FEMA:

Cataño substation, $25 million; Culebra substation, $1.2 million; Vieques substation, $2.3 million; Llorens Torres substation, $4 million; minor repairs in 5 Group A substations, $2.4 million; public lighting in Aguada, $19.7 million; public lighting in Guánica, $10.8 million; public lighting in Lajas, $11.5 million; public lighting in Luquillo, $9.7 million; public lighting in Maunabo, $7.1 million; repair of distribution poles and conductors in Ponce Group 1, $1.2 million; repair of distribution poles and conductors in Ponce Group 2, $404,000; repair of distribution poles and conductors in Arecibo Group 2, $1.25 million; repair of distribution poles and conductors in Caguas Group 4, $83,912; repair of distribution poles and conductors in Caguas Group 8, $292,522; repair of transmission poles in Arecibo (Mora), $307,000.

The generation projects presented by PREPA to FEMA are:

Mayagüez power plant, $18.1 million; Cambalache power plant, $995,587 million; infrastructure project in Aguirre, $8.5 million; infrastructure project in Aguirre Units 1 & 2, $14.9 million; infrastructure projects Aguirre combine cycle, $5.3 million; San Juan power plant auxiliary infrastructure, $1.7 million; San Juan power plant, $1.3 million; permanent repairs of the Palo Seco steam plant, $1.17 million.

“Projects that have not yet been submitted with the detailed information required by FEMA are in the process of completing the engineering and design stages, including projects of high technical and environmental complexity,” Laboy Rivera said. “Such projects must have a scope of work and cost estimate, for evaluation of environmental compliance and historic preservation at the federal level, and to add risk mitigation measures. Once the project is approved by FEMA, the start of construction is authorized.”

FEMA approved repairs to the Mayagüez power plant and soon should be approving the project to replace the Cataño substation, the COR3 chief noted.

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