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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

LUMA selects 4 contractors for start of vegetation clearing



Overgrown vegetation is the leading cause of service interruptions in Puerto Rico, recently causing widespread outages in Caguas and the San Juan metro area. (LUMA Energy PR/Facebook)

By The Star Staff


LUMA Energy announced Wednesday that much-awaited vegetation clearing will start soon to increase the safety and reliability of the island’s electric power transmission and distribution system.


The four selected contractors in charge of clearing vegetation are: Asplundh Tree Expert LLC, CERES Environmental Services, Wright Tree Service of Puerto Rico and Xpert’s LLC.


The islandwide, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-funded effort is intended to address the root cause of service interruptions. In this phase, qualified vegetation contractors with the resources, knowledge and preparation will carry out the initiative’s work and the strategic clearance on more than 16,000 miles of electrical lines and equipment, the private grid operator said. LUMA projects that once the work is completed, customers will experience up to 45% fewer service interruptions.


Overgrown vegetation is the leading cause of service interruptions in Puerto Rico. Recently, it caused widespread outages in Caguas and San Juan, and company crews worked through the night to restore service to some 350,000 customers, the operator said. LUMA’s analysis of service interruptions caused by vegetation and its impact on island communities resulted in the creation of a historic initiative that will impact the entire island, the company noted.


In the coming months and years of the clearing phase, areas under and around power lines, poles and other equipment must be cleared of trees and vegetation under the program.


“As we have said before, vegetation is a big problem that must be addressed. At LUMA, we are committed to reducing service interruptions, and this FEMA-funded initiative is an important part of this work. We project that customers will experience up to 45% fewer service interruptions once the work is completed,” LUMA President and CEO Juan Saca said. “The selected contractors have the resources, skills, preparation and experience to do this important work and achieve what our customers want: a more reliable electric grid and fewer service interruptions.”


The initiative is expected to employ more than 2,000 workers over a three-year period and result in an investment of almost $2 billion that benefits Puerto Rico’s economy.


Contractors for the Vegetation Initiative to Increase Service Safety and Reliability were evaluated through a rigorous procurement process designed for FEMA-funded projects and approved by the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience of Puerto Rico. Contractors were selected and awarded contracts based on their qualifications, experience, skills, costs, project-specific criteria, and ability to do the specified work for the benefit of LUMA’s clients. The company’s contractors are required to comply with all laws and regulations, LUMA said.


Additionally, the selected contractors were rigorously vetted and evaluated through a competitive process that included an open request for proposals, and have the resources, skills, preparation and experience to perform construction work.


The four selected contractors are also recognized worldwide as leaders in vegetation management. Additionally, they have extensive experience providing vegetation clearing services in Puerto Rico and throughout the United States. As part of LUMA’s vegetation management efforts, which go beyond the current initiative, the company relies on local and United States vegetation contractors to carry out daily maintenance work throughout the island, LUMA said.

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3 Comments


William Rosa
William Rosa
Jun 27

I already commented on this article, I just would like to add that the piece sounds like an endorsement of LUMA actions. I would like to think that the Star isn't agreeing with LUMA performance in PR.

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William Rosa
William Rosa
Jun 27

I strongly believe that forward looking is more productive than not; however, the past always reminds us about previous mistakes, how to avoid them and learn from them. LUMA Energy had been in business in PR for at least 3 years and today, have nothing to show off for. We aren't talking about consistency of blackouts because in that area, they are first in PR's history.

The vegetation issue wasn't hidden from them when the contract was negotiated and signed; thus, they knew it more than 3 years ago. Let's welcome whatever they can do to enhance the situation; still, they are being pay by the people of PR.

Accountability is challenging for many in the public; unfortunately, LUMA failed…

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Peter Fonseca
Peter Fonseca
Jun 27

This important work should help Puerto Rico's short-term power maintenance problem. Long-term, a Federal and Commonwealth comprehensive plan, fully funded, needs to be devised and implemented to address the woefully outdated electrical system on the island.

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