Electric power transmission to Culebra, Puerto Rico restored
Underwater cable from Vieques to go live Wednesday after relying on generators since September 2017 hurricanes
SAN JUAN – The island-municipality of Culebra, Puerto Rico, was expected to start receiving electric power service Wednesday afternoon from its neighboring island-municipality of Vieques via an underwater cable, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) said.
After hurricanes Irma and Maria struck in September 2017, power was finally restored to Culebra in December that year following the installation of two large generators by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that provided energy to its 1,800 residents. Culebra had lost its connection to the Puerto Rico power grid, the island’s sole source of electricity, since Irma struck.
Prepa workers were slated to shut down the temporary generators after having run succesful tests on the repaired underwater power cable.
Prepa’s chief executive officer, José Ortiz Vázquez, confirmed that the 38-kilowatt line would go live.
“To strengthen the service to Culebra, we will proceed with the installation of three emergency generators with a capacity of 6 megawatts, which will serve as a backup in case of a supply failure from the main power grid in the municipality of Naguabo,” he said in a statement.
With the connection, Culebra’s electricity service returns to the state it was before the hurricanes destroyed Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.
“We thank all the personnel of the Authority who worked on the connection of the second subsea section of line 5400 that runs between Vieques and Culebra. The staff has already done all the necessary tests; in addition, a new electric switch was installed in the substation of Vieques that will serve as protection for the section towards Culebra,” Ortiz said.
The new emergency generators will be ready to operate at the beginning of April as a redundancy measure, according to the utilty.