By James WoodsFebruary 15, 2018
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Since Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico almost five months ago, a combined effort from USACE, FEMA, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the utility industry continues to restore reliable power to the people of Puerto Rico.
In mid-October, USACE began issuing line restoration contracts in support of emergency power grid repairs.
To date our partnerships with PREPA and the utility industry have enabled the accomplishment of restoring power for nearly 80 percent of customers, or more than 1.1 million clients.
The Unified Command made up of FEMA, USACE, PREPA and the island's Power Restoration Coordinator, assesses that the estimated time to restore electricity to 90 to 95 percent of customers across the island is March 31.
Power restoration to 95 percent of customers energized in the more remote areas with challenging terrain, like the Arecibo and Caguas regions, will take until mid-April and late-May respectively.
"While we remain focused on returning power to all Puerto Ricans, we are beginning a responsible drawdown of our current workforce to make good use of the federal tax dollars entrusted to us," said Colonel Jason Kirk, USACE Power Restoration Task Force lead. "The Unified Command is confident that we have the right number of restoration workers actively engaged and will not rest until we have the lights back on for all of our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico."
Through this right sizing, the Unified Command will continue to reposition some of the more than 4,200 workers remaining on the island, as we continue to follow the master restoration plan.
These measures over the next several weeks will continue to maximize manpower and material against remaining priority lines to achieve our paramount objective of restoration of power for the citizens of Puerto Rico.
Task Force Power Restoration change of command press release.