• The Star Staff

FEMA assigns $238 million to PREPA for peaking generators

By The Star Staff

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently obligated over $238 million to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for costs related to 28 peaking generator units that are providing power to critical facilities until the Costa Sur units are back in service.

The announcement was made Tuesday in a statement.

The units, which typically only run when there is high demand for electricity, were used after the earthquakes in order to save lives and prevent further damage to properties. The generation systems are being used to supply power to critical facilities such as hospitals, police departments, fire departments, emergency centers and water facilities.

“This obligation addresses the need to maintain power generation capacity for the benefit of thousands of residents who rely on these critical services in their towns. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Puerto Rico to ensure a successful recovery from the earthquakes,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands José Baquero Tirado.

Emergency protective measures of this sort are actions taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats either to lives, public health or safety, or of significant additional damage to public or private property in a cost-effective manner.

“We appreciate FEMA’s continued support in providing the necessary resources to mitigate damage and support critical facilities,” said Ottmar Chávez, executive director of the Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3). “We continue working together in the rebuilding of PREPA’s infrastructure not only to provide essential power, but also to save lives, strengthen public health and provide quality of life.”

Costa Sur is the largest of four power plants on the island and provides about a quarter of the electric power throughout Puerto Rico. The facility suffered extensive structural damage from the earthquakes in January, which resulted in compromised foundations, walls and support structures. The damage caused islandwide power outages, leaving more than 327,000 residents without power.

The 28 peaking units currently in use are located in Aguirre, Cambalache, Daguao, Jabos, Mayagüez, Palo Seco, Vega Baja and Yabucoa.

To date, FEMA has obligated over $240 million for costs related to the earthquakes. FEMA works with COR3 through the agency’s Public Assistance program to obligate recovery funds to private nonprofit organizations, municipalities and agencies of the Puerto Rico government. FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants to eligible government organizations and certain private non-profit organizations for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged facilities.