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The long power restoration process in Puerto Rico
October 30, 2017 / 7:56 PM / 25 days ago

The long power restoration process in Puerto Rico

(Reuters) - The following is a timeline of the efforts to restore power in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, which knocked out power to all 1.5 million homes and businesses on the island.

Sept. 6 - Hurricane Irma skirts by the northern side of Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm, knocking power out to about 1 million homes and businesses on the island.

Sept. 6-20 - Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) restores power to all but about 60,000 customers after Irma and seeks companies that can help rebuild the grid. There are reports that about five companies participated in that request for proposals, including Whitefish Energy, based in Whitefish, Montana.

Sept. 20 - Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, knocking out all power on the island.

Sept. 22 - New York Power Authority (NYPA) sends 12 workers to help PREPA assess damage after Maria, as part of a group that traveled with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Sept. 26 - President Donald Trump increased the federal government’s share of costs to 100 percent funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including emergency power restoration, for 180 days. The work will be authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Sept. 26 - Whitefish Energy Chief Executive Officer Andy Techmanski travels to Puerto Rico to talk to PREPA about what Whitefish can do to help restore power.

Sept. 27 - One week after Maria hit Puerto Rico no power has been restored.

Sept. 27 - FEMA Administrator Brock Long names the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as the lead agency to oversee the power restoration process in Puerto Rico.

Sept. 28 - Tesla Inc said it is sending battery systems to Puerto Rico.

Sept. 29 - NYPA sends 10 more generation and transmission experts to work with PREPA.

Oct. 2 - Rather than call on mutual assistance from U.S. mainland utilities, PREPA decides to rely on USACE and hire contractors, like Whitefish, to rebuild the power grid and restore service. Whitefish starts work in Puerto Rico as part of a $300 million contract to work on transmission lines, among other things.

Oct. 4 - Two weeks after Maria hit, power has been restored to only 9 percent of customers.

Oct. 5 - Jacksonville, Florida, power company JEA sends 41 linemen and equipment to Puerto Rico as part of the Whitefish team.

Oct. 8 - USACE awards a $35.1 million contract to Weston Solutions, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, to provide a 50-megawatt generator. The generator, which consists of two General Electric turbines, will be installed at the Palo Seco power plant outside San Juan.

Oct. 10 - USACE places orders for about $148 million in materials, including more than 50,000 utility poles and 6,500 miles of cable.

Oct. 11 - Three weeks after Maria hit Puerto Rico, power has been restored to only 11 percent of customers.

Oct. 16 - USACE awards a $240 million contract to Fluor Corp to support transmission and distribution systems restoration.

Oct. 17 - Kissimmee Utility Authority sends six linemen to Puerto Rico as part of the Whitefish team.

Oct. 18 - Four weeks after Maria, power has been restored to only 19 percent of customers.

Oct. 18 - USACE awards $40 million contract to Southern Co’s PowerSecure unit to repair distribution systems in the western region of Puerto Rico.

Oct 19 - PREPA awards Oklahoma-based Mammoth Energy Services’ Cobra Acquisitions LLC unit with a $200 million contract to help restore power.

Oct. 23 - Orlando Utilities and Lakeland Electric, both of Florida, send crews to Puerto Rico.

Oct. 25 - The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, under the authority of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, says it will appoint Noel Zamot as chief transformation officer for PREPA to lead the transformation of the utility and the rebuilding of the electric sector after Maria.

Oct. 26 - Five weeks after Maria, power has been restored to only 26 percent of customers.

Oct. 26 - Two generators installed for USACE at the Palo Seco power plant are complete and expected to enter service.

Oct. 26 - NYPA crews demobilizing.

Oct. 26 - New York Governor Cuomo takes second trip to Puerto Rico. He says the state will send a 28-member tactical power restoration team in early November to work with PREPA, comprised of engineers and supervisors from New York power companies owned by Consolidated Edison Inc, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, National Grid Plc and Avangrid Inc. New York will also send 15 contract accountants to expedite the FEMA filings and reimbursements.

Oct. 29 - Puerto Rico cancels $300 million contract with Whitefish over concerns about cost and lack of bidding. Whitefish had about 350 people working on restoring transmission lines in Puerto Rico and says it was on track to have about 500 people on the island by the end of the week.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Leslie Adler

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