The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority announced that effective immediately, the public corporation will adopt a U.S. national standard for the design and reconstruction of the future electric grid in Puerto Rico.
PREPA CEO Walter Higgins explained that Puerto Rico’s electric grid can be modernized, made more efficient, more reliable, more resistant to heavy storms and have a lower cost of operation and maintenance and be easier to restore.
PREPA’s intent is to adopt the nationally recognized standards issued by the Rural Utilities Service a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Higgins said.
“A standardized grid using modern technology will also make it possible for PREPA and its customers to work cooperatively to maximize the use of emerging distributed energy technologies and to adopt smart grid technology,” he said.
“PREPA will be able to share workers with other utilities from the mainland allowing a faster restoration after disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes,” Higgins added.
The utility has a “unique opportunity” to make this transition now because of the need to permanently rebuild Puerto Rico’s grid following the completion of emergency restoration measures taken in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and María, he said.
The storms dealt some $3 billion in damages to PREPA’s network in Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra.
“While electric service has been restored to nearly everyone in Puerto Rico, emergency measures must be upgraded and/or replaced to permanent standards,” said Higgins.