Over $7 million allocated for PREPA reconstruction projects
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience of Puerto Rico (COR3) Executive Director Manuel A. Laboy Rivera announced Thursday a disbursement of $7.1 million to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for reconstruction projects.
“The approval of the Advance Request (RFA), presented by PREPA to COR3 and whose amount in the millions of dollars was disbursed [Thursday] will cover expenses incurred and projected for the architectural and engineering work on four reconstruction projects and comprehensive studies that guide efforts to renew the electrical system,” Pierluisi said. “It is estimated that the initial economic impact of the development of these projects represents $123 million and the creation of hundreds of jobs.”
So far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated under the Accelerated Obligation Strategy some $9.5 billion in federal funds from the Public Assistance Program for projects related to transmission and distribution, generation, dams and PREPA buildings.
“In compliance with the governor’s commitment, we are collaborating as a team with the leadership of PREPA and LUMA [Energy] to continue streamlining the projects and soon, to present the scope of work … (SOW) to FEMA to start the bidding processes early next year, and we project that by the second semester the construction of the first permanent works of the electrical system will begin,” Laboy Rivera said.
PREPA Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz pointed out that at the moment there are active reconstruction projects under PREPA’s responsibility at a cost of $2.4 billion for the generation area and the division of dams, irrigation and reservoirs.
“We are focusing on the first projects in the architecture and design processes, while we continue to develop the scope of work to continue formulating projects and start the construction phases,” Colón Ortiz said. “We continue to work hand in hand with the COR3 team to ensure that the projects and their funds continue the due processes and thus fully comply with the different reconstruction programs. This disbursement of $7.1 million requested from FEMA and announced today is a step in the right direction in the beginning of the reconstruction of the electrical system.”
Laboy Rivera stressed that, as required by state law, PREPA’s reconstruction projects must first be approved by the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau before starting the architecture and engineering phase, which will provide the necessary information in order to submit the SOWs to FEMA, so that the federal agency can evaluate the projects in terms of environmental compliance, historical preservation and risk mitigation measures.