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FEMA approves nearly $600 million to fix Puerto Rico's power grid


CE Noticias Financieras  

 

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved on Sunday an allocation of nearly $600 million for the purchase of materials needed to rebuild Puerto Rico's electrical grid.

    The federal contribution will allow an advance purchase of materials, so that the resources will be available at the beginning of the reconstruction work.

    The federal disaster recovery coordinator, José Baquero, explained that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has already submitted to the agency an initial list of materials and equipment that are currently in short supply, and that usually have a long lead time or that could be impacted by future events.

    "This is an extensive requirement that includes the areas of transmission and distribution, substations and telecommunications. The goal is to be able to get the materials in time for the start of the work. We are very excited to be able to see how the works are beginning to take shape," said the official in written statements.

    Among the materials included in this project are nearly 2,500 miles of transmission lines, 23 miles of submarine cable for the municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, over 300 substations, nearly 200,000 transformers and 13,400 miles of feeders, among other necessary equipment.

    Manuel Alejandro José Laboy Rivera, Executive Director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3), said, "This obligation arises as a result of the active and proactive work we have done together with PREPA, FEMA and the close collaboration with LUMA. I reiterate that the reconstruction of the electrical grid has already begun and the purchase of the equipment under this significant obligation will allow the agile development of other projects. Currently, we have disbursed $1.6 billion in emergency categories and $7.1 million for permanent works. As the projects advance in their development, and PREPA or LUMA submit their requests for reimbursement, we will address them promptly so that the money disbursed continues to advance the reconstruction of other electric system infrastructure."

    These funds join 18 other projects to restore the power grid for a total of more than $700 million. The power reconstruction also has about $9.6 million in additional mitigation measures, such as replacing poles with ones that can withstand winds up to 160 miles per hour, emergency generators to prevent damage to replacement batteries at substations, and elevating substations located in flood zones.

    FEMA has approved over $12.8 billion to PREPA for emergency and permanent work to address damages from Hurricane Maria and the 2020 earthquakes. Of this total, $9.4 billion was awarded through FEMA's Accelerated Obligation Acceleration Strategy (FAAST).

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