SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Nov. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Whitefish Energy today issued the following statement:
Nov. 2 marked the one month anniversary of Whitefish Energy's work to restore power in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria's category five winds left the island without a functioning electrical grid, Whitefish Energy was tasked with rapidly mobilizing resources to the island to begin the repair — starting with the system's "backbone," the transmission lines and towers, many of which were located in the mountains of Puerto Rico's rugged interior. Whitefish was also tasked with mobilizing workers to help repair the distribution system that would begin the process of restoring service to homes, buildings and other end-users as critical transmission assets were brought online.
Whitefish Energy's efforts have included clearing access roads, clearing rights-of-way, excavation, and helicopter airlifts of manpower and equipment to enable access to the towers and transmission lines needing repair. This represented a large mobilization and utilization of civil clearing and construction assets before the work directly on the transmission lines was possible. Once access to rights-of-way and helicopter landing zones were established, work on lines was able to begin.
Since Whitefish Energy's work began on Oct. 2, the company has brought 350 linemen to the island to work on the restoration project, along with more than 600 pieces and 5 million pounds of equipment, including power line equipment, cranes and excavators, as well as five helicopters. The team's accomplishments include:
Restoration of transmission lines and towers, including:
- More than 10 miles from Cambalache transmission center to Manati (line 50100).
- More than 20 miles from Manati to Bayamon transmission center (line 50200).
- Six towers replaced and 58 towers repaired with helicopter airlift and heavy equipment.
- Work continues on a historically abandoned line in the south-central part of the island. More than 20 towers are being dismantled and repurposed to replace damaged or destroyed towers on other parts of the island.
- Line 3000 - Completed a critical 38kv distribution line from San Juan to Caguas and are continuing the section from Caguas to Juntos.
- Nearly complete with the distribution lines in this neighborhood and surrounding areas of San Juan. Whitefish is expected to have the area ready for PREPA to energize in the coming days.
Access / Civil
Under normal circumstances, rights-of-way would be routinely cleared to provide access to transmission infrastructure.
Budgetary constraints have curtailed rights-of-way maintenance since 1996, meaning that in some areas, the right-of-way may be indistinguishable from the surrounding forest.
- A half-mile by 16-foot wide path of 10-foot trees near the Cambalache transmission center was cleared by hand and small equipment while heavier equipment was in transit. A half-mile by 16-foot wide path of 30-foot trees and a one-mile by 10-foot stretch of 20-foot trees had to be cleared in two sections along line 50100 east of Manati.
- Three additional rights-of-way west of Manati were cleared that totaled nearly two miles of overgrown heavy bush, vegetation and 15-foot trees.
Impact to Date
Whitefish repairs have resulted in the restoration of power to areas surrounding San Juan for more than 500,000 people, including hospitals, homes, businesses and industrial centers—all critical to the island's recovery.
Crews are completing assigned work on 230 kV transmission lines 50900 and 51000, which run from south to north over the central mountains. These areas involve high elevation, difficult terrain and limited access. Tasks underway involve replacement of 38 towers and the repair of 25 more, subject to ground inspections of the sites only accessible from the air so far.
SOURCE Whitefish Energy Holdings, LLC