Whitefish Energy crews have completed their repair work on the south-to-north 50900 transmission line, allowing for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to power-up many of the neighborhoods in the greater San Juan metropolitan area that have been without electricity since Hurricane María hit the island on Sep. 20, the company confirmed.
Line 50900 is a major artery of the Puerto Rico electrical grid, running from power generating stations in the southern part of the island, over the central mountain range to the populated areas of the north, most notably greater San Juan.
The line was heavily damaged by Hurricane María and required major repairs and reconstruction of both transmission lines and towers. Whitefish Energy has led a team of linemen, pilots and engineers to clear right-of-ways, assess damage, develop construction plans and airlift crews and equipment to restore its portion of the line that will bring more power to northern Puerto Rico.
“The completion of this work is a major milestone in the recovery efforts on Puerto Rico and it represents of collaborative effort across Whitefish Energy and a number of our subcontractor partners who have done some remarkable work under extreme and challenging conditions,” said Andy Techmanski, CEO of Whitefish Energy.
“With our transmission work now complete, PREPA will now take the final steps to verify switch and distribution capabilities so that electric power can be delivered to the residents and businesses in greater San Juan that have been without electricity for two months,” he said.
Based on the amount of power that is generated from the south and the importance of the 50900 line, it is reasonable to assume that once PREPA completes its work, power generation and delivery on the island, which is currently at 61.6 percent, should be significantly higher and getting closer to the 95 percent goal for Dec. 15 established by Gov. Pedro Rosselló, Techmanski said.
“Our two months of work on the island has allowed the pace of power restoration to support the goals established by Gov. Rosselló, and the great crews that have worked with us since October deserve tremendous credit for their dedication to this mission,” he added.
PSEG Long Island to support PR power restoration efforts
In related news, in response to New York’s Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s call, PSEG Long Island has mobilized more than 50 employees and contractors to Puerto Rico, along with the requisite vehicles and equipment, to help in the effort to rebuild its electrical grid.
“At PSEG Long Island, responding to crises and helping those in need, is what we do best,” said Dan Eichhorn, president of PSEG Long Island.
“Our employees showed no hesitation when asked to volunteer and join NYPA and New York’s other utilities to support Puerto Rico and reconstruct the electrical grid to provide safe electrical power,” he said.
“This is a prime example of our employees’ commitment to always being there to help others in need, just as Long Islanders were supported after Superstorm Sandy,” Eichhorn said.
PSEG Long Island vehicles were driven to Pennsauken, NJ and loaded on to a barge which transported the trucks and equipment to Puerto Rico. Personnel flew down Wednesday to meet up with the equipment.
A small contingent of employees arrived in Puerto Rico in early November and they have been assessing the damage. The additional personnel are deploying and will assist in restoring power across the island just as soon as they arrive. Mutual aid allows for the sharing of resources such as labor and equipment during emergencies.