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  • The San Juan Daily Star

FEMA allocates $60.2 million for a dozen PREPA subprojects


With an obligation of over $53.7 million for transmission works, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority purchased and installed three PWPS mobile gas turbines, or megagenerators, at its Palo Seco power plant in Toa Baja.


By THE STAR STAFF


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated over $60.2 million to be distributed among 12 subprojects for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) that include generation, transmission and distribution units in Bayamón, Caguas, Mayagüez, Ponce, San Juan and Toa Baja.


The federal funds are part of nearly $1.7 billion that have been obligated to PREPA to date for a total of 87 approved subprojects for the energy grid under FEMA’s Accelerated Awards Strategy, known as FAASt.


“This obligation will benefit nearly 900,000 people living in these municipalities, who will be able to rely on an improved electrical grid, not only for their homes, but also for schools, hospitals and other facilities in the area,” Deputy Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Andrés García said. “Some of these projects include hazard mitigation proposals to avoid similar damage in the future, such as the replacement of concrete poles with galvanized steel poles, among other measures.”


One of the facilities that have completed the proposed work with FEMA funding is the Palo Seco Power Plant in Toa Baja. With an obligation of over $53.7 million for transmission works, PREPA purchased and installed three PWPS mobile gas turbines, or mega-generators. The turbines will be used as a temporary power source to bypass the needs of certain transmission lines and/or generation power plants. Another obligation of over $2.6 million for generation purposes, was used to complete the replacement of a demineralized water tank and stainless-steel pipes. It included other works such as a soil study and environmental compliance tests.


“An additional benefit of having the mega-generators in service is that these modern units are much more efficient than the existing peaking units replaced by them, resulting in a lower cost for customers in Puerto Rico,” said PREPA Executive Director Josué A. Colón Ortiz.


The PREPA chief also noted that “with the support of FEMA and COR3 [the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency], PREPA has been able to make the necessary repairs to several generating units during the past year, which has helped stabilize the generation system in Puerto Rico.”


For works on distribution, an obligation of over $3.8 million was distributed among 10 facilities located in Bayamón, Caguas, Mayagüez, Ponce and San Juan. Included in this allocation are the repairs and renewal of distribution poles and conductors at San Juan Group 8, which includes distribution feeders Venezuela, Hato Rey, Tres Monjitas, Baldrich, Las Lomas 4 and Las Lomas 5.


“To date, some 10 permanent works have been completed and another 113 projects valued at $415.2 million are in the construction or design stage,” COR3 Executive Director Manuel A. Laboy Rivera said.


To date, FEMA has obligated over $29 billion in Public Assistance funds for roughly 10,400 projects that will support rebuilding for greater resiliency in Puerto Rico.

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