Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

PREPA restores power to customers after earthquakes

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) continues to work on getting generation back up and customers restored in the wake of a series of devastating earthquakes that hit Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced on Jan. 7 declared a state of emergency in the wake of the earthquakes including a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that hit on Tuesday morning.

PREPA noted in a tweet that its plants had activated self-protection mechanisms and gone out of service as a result of the earthquakes. PREPA’s Costa Sur 990-megawatt power plant was severely damaged due to the earthquakes.

Early Friday, PREPA said it had restored power to 80 percent of 1.5 million customers, NBC News reported.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, Puerto Rico was hit by another major earthquake. The 5.9 magnitude quake caused “millions of dollars of damage along the island’s southern coast, where previous recent quakes have toppled homes and schools,” the Associated Press reported.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Jan. 12 said that there had been significant progress in power restoration. PREPA anticipated 100 percent power generation Jan. 12 if all assets were online, FEMA said.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Temporary Emergency Power Team is in Puerto Rico.  Equipment mobilization was expected to begin Jan. 12. A USACE team is conducting assessments for generator installs where required.

Meanwhile, representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy are in Puerto Rico consulting with private sector partners on ways to increase power generation after the loss of the Costa Sur power plant.

Association’s mutual aid team in contact with PREPA, NYPA

The American Public Power Association’s mutual aid team has been in close contact with PREPA, as well as the New York Power Authority, which has a team of ten deployed to the island to support hardening and resiliency efforts.

In addition, the Association has been in contact with the Department of Energy and the agency has sent personnel to the island to assist and coordinate with FEMA, PREPA and the Territorial Government.

Trump approves Puerto Rico’s request for an emergency declaration

President Trump on Jan. 7 approved Puerto Rico’s request for an emergency declaration allowing direct federal assistance in the wake of the recent series of earthquakes. The assistance is for all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor is in constant communication with the governor and Commonwealth officials, FEMA reported.