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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Housing Dept. invites public input on its proposed amendment to power grid action plan

Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez

By The Star Staff

The island Housing Department is inviting organizations, communities and residents to comment on the first amendment to the Action Plan for the Optimization of the Electrical Grid.

“As has been our practice, we want to encourage citizen participation in recovery activities, so we call on everyone to read the plan, find out what the Government of Puerto Rico intends to do with the allocation to improve the energy system and comment on the page or by regular mail,” Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez said over the weekend.

The amendment is about the Cost Distribution Program for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of the Electrical Grid, in addition to reviewing the way in which the chosen projects will make improvements to the system to benefit communities with vulnerable populations, as well as poor and needy areas.

The program, which has a budget of $500 million, maximizes the benefit of other federal funds such as those granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), by matching the cost of the projects with Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. The matching of funds provided by federal agencies will cover the needs of critical infrastructure that will make the infrastructure more able to resist and recover quickly from interruptions in the system caused by future disasters.

On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the federal register governing the use of the $2 billion allocation in CDBG-DR funds to strengthen or improve electric power systems in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of that $2 billion, $1.9 billion was allocated for the optimization of the electrical energy system of Puerto Rico.

The island Housing Department’s proposed amendment to the original action plan also modifies the Electric Power Reliability and Resiliency Program, to clarify that the program allocation can be used for both strategic and competitive projects. The amendment also allows for the competitive selection of projects proposed by eligible entities through an application process. This second $1.3 billion program will provide funding for projects not currently anticipated to receive funding from other federal or local sources.

The Housing Department has set up a space on the website so that the public can read and comment on the first amendment to the action plan that is proposed to be sent to the federal government this month.

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