FEMA OKs $786M project to replace 1.5M PREPA meters
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has allocated more than $786 million to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for the replacement of nearly 1.5 million meters damaged by Hurricane María in 2017.
These meters will be equipped with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a two-way communications technology that collects detailed metering information across all of PREPA’s service areas.
AMI will improve the operation of the electric system, as well as metrics and situational awareness for both PREPA and its customers. This will help address irregularities during future weather events.
The smart meters will also enable real-time readings so customers can monitor voltage quality.
“The funds are part of the allocations under FEMA’s Accelerated Awards Strategy (FAASt) for PREPA,” said José G. Baquero, the federal disaster recovery coordinator. “These meters will provide greater transparency to customers about the service they receive. The infrastructure will also help the government meet its energy public policy goals, according to federal and local statutes.”
The FEMA-approved project will improve the detection of energy service interruptions and provide more accurate estimates of outage durations. The smart meters will also help identify such issues as hot sockets or downed wires, facilitating quicker dispatch of repair teams.
Moreover, AMI technology will ease the integration of microgrid networks for power restoration using alternative energy resources.
By pinpointing service capacities in challenging areas, the technology will enable better resource distribution, reducing interruptions caused by energy demand, FEMA officials said.