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Hurricane María

USACE installs record 311th temporary generator in PR

Sgt. Mike Greenwalt, A. Co. 249th Engineer Battalion “Prime Power” ensures all power is discharged from a generator installed at the Barceloneta Water Treatment Plant, which provides water to a large number of factories in the area. (USACE Photo by Mike A. Glasch)

Task Force Puerto Rico’s, Emergency Temporary Power Planning and Response Team (PRT) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Albuquerque District installed its 311th temporary generator Oct. 28th in support of Hurricane María response and recovery efforts, setting a new record for generator installations, the entity confirmed.

After being hit by two hurricanes, the second a category four, within 12 days, the small Caribbean island’s aged and fragile power grid faltered under force of Hurricane María’s 155 mile per hour winds.

“The previous mark of 310 generators installed was set during Hurricane Katrina response efforts in 2007,” said Mobile District Commander, Col. James DeLapp. “The temporary power mission in Puerto Rico has surpassed the previous mark and continues to climb.”

As of Oct. 31, the team has installed 366 generators and is currently averaging approximately 20 installations a day.

“At this rate, we could easily double the installation number of the previous record and the big difference is these will likely be in place for months,” said DeLapp.

The Emergency Power PRT, one of seven in the Corps, teams with the U.S. Army 249th Engineer Battalion “Prime Power,” and partners with contractors to tackle the daunting mission of providing life-saving power generation to the island that was lost more than 80 percent of its power following Hurricane María.

The 366 generators currently installed throughout Puerto Rico are providing more than 122 megawatts of power to 48 hospitals, 44 waste water facilities, 190 water pumps, 30 emergency services facilities, 10 airports and many other critical facilities.

With the Puerto Rico’s power grid operating at approximately 30 percent of pre-storm capacity, the ability to provide generators for critical facilities continues to be a high priority for the PRT, it said.

“The unprecedented damage to the power grid has put us in a situation we have never seen before,” said DeLapp. “As we continue to make strides in repairing grid power, our Emergency Temporary Power PRT is dedicated to providing generator power to those cities and towns until there is no need for temporary power generation.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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