Power restoration efforts are underway on Puerto Rico as the island continues to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Fiona.
LUMA Energy on Sept. 19 announced that since Sunday afternoon, crews have been taking immediate and critical actions to respond to the island-wide power outage following the hurricane-force winds, torrential rains and severe flooding brought by Hurricane Fiona.
LUMA crews have been continuously assessing damage, performing critical repairs and working with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and private generators to increase generation and reenergize the electric grid.
“We want our customers to know that LUMA has been and will continue to work around the clock to restore power to Puerto Rico following the island-wide outage that began early Sunday afternoon. While power restoration has now occurred for more than 100,000 customers, LUMA crews continue to work to stabilize the grid,” said LUMA Public Safety Manager Abner Gómez.
Following the island-wide power outage on Sunday afternoon, LUMA crews immediately mobilized and began efforts to assess damage, implement repairs and restore power to customers.
Throughout these efforts the following restoration activities have been completed as of Sept. 19:
- 10:45 PM – Power restored to Centro Medico and approximately 5,000 customers in the municipality of San Juan
- 2:00 AM – Power restored to the University Hospital and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Puerto Rico in the municipality of San Juan
- 2:15 AM – Power restored to a total of more than 39,000 customers with service restored in the municipalities of Corozal, Toa Alta and Toa Baja
- 3:45 AM – Power Restored to a total of more than 76,000 customers with service restored in the municipalities of Toa Baja, Toa Alta, San Juan, Bayamon and Corozal
- 5:30 AM – Power restored to a total of more than 100,000 customers with service restored in the municipalities of San Juan, Bayamon Corozal, Toa Alta and Toa Baja
LUMA Energy said it has fully deployed its resources including 1,648 utility field crews and an additional 339 contractor resources. A field response crew of 1,987 are mobilized and actively responding and restoring power where and when it is safe to do so. Additional resources are continuously being coordinated.
In June 2020, PREPA 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.
Meanwhile, the White House said that Deanne Criswell, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was expected to travel to Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 where she will meet with state and local officials and impacted citizens and assess urgent needs that President Biden has directed FEMA to meet.
FEMA announced on Sept. 18 that federal emergency aid has been made available to Puerto Rico to supplement Puerto Rico’s response efforts due to emergency conditions resulting from Tropical Storm Fiona beginning Sept. 17 and continuing.
Meanwhile, President Biden on Sept. 19 spoke to Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi from Air Force One while returning from the State Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II.
Biden and the Governor discussed the immediate needs of the people of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Fiona.
Biden described the surge of federal support to the island, where more than 300 federal personnel are already working to assist with response and recovery. In the coming days, as damage assessments are conducted, the President said that the number of support personnel will increase substantially.
Pierluisi expressed his appreciation for the partnership and support that he is receiving already from the Biden Administration, according to a readout from the White House describing the call.
The American Public Power Association (APPA) is monitoring the needs of member utilities and regional organizations affected by Hurricane Fiona and said it stands ready to mobilize emergency power restoration crews and materials through the national public power mutual aid network, as requested by affected entities.
APPA has set up a webpage that includes additional details on the response to Fiona and resources related to Fiona.