Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor introduced Friday that the U.S. authorities has shipped three mega mills to the island to assist stabilize the U.S. territory’s rickety electrical grid and decrease persevering with outages.

The mills will add 150 megawatts of energy, and extra mills that the U.S. is anticipated to ship quickly will provide one other 250 megawatts, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi mentioned.

Officers mentioned crews will set up the mills earlier than the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.

“It’s step one in a really, very complicated course of,” mentioned Nancy Casper, a coordinator with the U.S. Federal Emergency Administration Company.

FEMA is paying for 90% of the challenge and Puerto Rico’s authorities the remaining 10% as a part of a deal reached final 12 months, however each Casper and Pierluisi mentioned the whole value was not but out there as a result of it could rely partially on how lengthy the mills will function.

Puerto Rico solely not too long ago began everlasting repairs on an getting older energy grid razed by Hurricane Maria, a Class 4 storm that struck the island in September 2017. Since then, energy outages have turn into a typical incidence, disrupting every day life on the island of three.2 million folks.

The federal authorities has allotted some $12 billion — most of it for the grid reconstruction — however solely 18 everlasting initiatives totaling $88 million have been accomplished as of early March, in response to the nonpartisan assume tank Middle for a New Economic system.

“At this tempo, it could take over 100 years to finish the reconstruction of the Puerto Rico electrical grid,” the middle mentioned in an evaluation printed Thursday.

The ability grid was additional weakened by Hurricane Fiona, a Class 1 storm that hit Puerto Rico’s southwest area in September 2022. It sparked an island-wide blackout and brought about greater than $3 billion in harm to the crumbling electrical system.

“The short-term era is vital,” Casper mentioned of the brand new mills.

The short-term energy enhance will permit crews to take substations, transformers and breakers offline for repairs that might take wherever from 12 to 18 months.

Puerto Rico’s energy grid was already shaky earlier than Hurricane Maria struck, with officers blaming many years of mismanagement and neglect. Its era models are on common 45 years previous, twice these of the U.S. mainland.

The grid’s ongoing issues come as Puerto Rico’s Electrical Energy Authority struggles to restructure greater than $9 billion in debt, the most important of any authorities company. A majority of collectors have but to achieve a take care of a federal management board overseeing the island’s funds regardless of six years of acrimonious negotiations.

In June 2020, the island’s energy firm privatized transmission and distribution operations, and in January, it introduced that it had chosen a personal firm to function and keep its era models.

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