Powering Strong Communities

LUMA Initiates Smart Meter and Vegetation Clearing Assessments Across Puerto Rico

LUMA, which operates and manages the electric power transmission and distribution system in Puerto Rico, recently announced the start of island-wide assessments for smart meter upgrades and vegetation clearing.

“The deployment of smart meters represents a significant milestone in LUMA’s efforts to enhance reliability, efficiency, and customer experience throughout the island’s electrical grid. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, these smart meters will enable real-time monitoring, improved outage detection, and enhanced energy management capabilities for our customers,” LUMA said.

In April, LUMA’s team of experts began conducting initial assessments across Puerto Rico to evaluate infrastructure readiness and determine optimal deployment strategies for smart meter installations. 

These assessments will encompass various factors, including infrastructure compatibility, meter locations and customer accessibility.

Improving Reliability Through Vegetation Clearing

Vegetation growth near power lines represent over 50% of all service interruptions, LUMA said, noting that this poses a significant threat to the reliability of the electrical grid, particularly during adverse weather conditions.

To mitigate this risk and ensure a secure and uninterrupted service for customers across Puerto Rico, LUMA is launching a the first ever federally funded proactive vegetation clearing program that will improve overall service for all customers in Puerto Rico. 

Initial assessments to identify and protect endemic trees and wildlife will start in San Juan, Guaynabo, Carolina, Bayamón and Trujillo Alto.

Highlights of the vegetation clearing initiative include:

  • Enhanced Reliability: By proactively managing vegetation along power lines, LUMA aims to minimize interruptions and reduce the frequency and duration of outages, ultimately improving reliability for all 1.5 million customers across Puerto Rico.
  • Commitment to Environmental Protection: LUMA said it is committed to complying with all Puerto Rico and United States federal laws and regulations related to environmental protection, including those enforced by agencies such as Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, DRNA, and others. Vegetation management practices are guided by environmentally responsible principles, with a focus on minimizing impact on local ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
  • Collaborative Approach: LUMA actively engages with local stakeholders, including environmental organizations, government agencies, and community members, to ensure that vegetation management activities are conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. “Open communication and collaboration with stakeholders and communities are central to the success of this initiative,” it said.

As part of this program, LUMA will conduct vegetation clearing activities in select areas across Puerto Rico.

Customers can expect to receive advance notification of any planned vegetation management activities in their area through LUMA’s Planned Upgrade Portal, social media and other communication channels, it said.

Streetlight Replacements

LUMA also provided an update on its Community Streetlight Initiative, noting it has completed the replacement of over 100,000 streetlights across more than 50 municipalities improving reliability, energy efficiency and public safety.

“Our crews and local contractors will impact all 78 municipalities as part of Phase 1 of the Community Streetlight Initiative this year and will be starting Phases 2 and 3 to complete more complex repairs including pole replacements, third party attachments, secondary and primary line replacements and underground improvements in the near future”, said Heriberto González, LUMA’s Director for the Community Streetlight Initiative.

González explained that not all streetlights are part of LUMA’s inventory but that crews continue to assess all streetlights to identify which ones fall under the T&D operator’s responsibility to modernize them following FEMA’s strict guidelines and process.

“We follow all applicable laws and regulations to access available funding including the installation of turtle-friendly lights near coastlines commonly used by turtles for nesting. We are committed to improving our customer’s quality of life and protecting the environment,” he added.

In June 2020, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority selected LUMA Energy to operate, maintain and modernize the electricity transmission and distribution system of PREPA for fifteen years through a public-private partnership.

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