Puerto Rico Gov’t Signs 3rd MultiMillion-Dollar Contract to Reestablish Electric Grid
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) Executive Director Ricardo Ramos officially signed a contract with Cobra Acquisitions on Thursday night to support the work already done on the island by Whitefish Energy to restore the main lines of transmission.
The contract with Cobra comes after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló ordered a more accelerated strategy to reestablish electric service to Puerto Rico, precisely one month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. To date, Prepa has barely managed to generate 20% of the normal energy demand of its customers.
The contract with Cobra, a subsidiary of Mammoth Energy Services, based in Oklahoma, will have a of $200 million. Another contract, capped at $300 million, was also signed with Montana-based Whitefish, which was selected by Prepa before Maria hit on Sept. 20 and its executives were mobilized to the island a week after the hurricane.
Since Prepa is going through a bankruptcy process in federal court, the utility’s costs to rebuild the electric grid are being paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Whitefish has said it has about 300 employees and subcontractors in Puerto Rico, reportedly including brigades from the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) and the Kissimmee Utility Authority.
Caribbean Business learned that Power Secure, whose preliminary agreement with Prepa was announced this week by Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario, ended up being contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an entity of the federal government in charge of managing the contracts to rebuild the electricity network after Maria.
Ramos said that to achieve the goal of increasing power generation to 30% by the end of this month and 50% by November, about 1,000 brigades will be needed working on the different phases of the process. It is estimated that at this moment that there are 231 Prepa brigades and 24 Whitefish brigades working to repair key 115- and 230-kilovolt transmission lines, along with 411 JAE and 275 Cobra brigades, as well as some 100 brigades from local power companies.
The Corps of Engineers also announced that in the coming weeks, 275 brigades from Fluor Corp. should arrive in Puerto Rico to join the effort.