USACE grants contract to power up eastern Puerto Rico towns
SAN JUAN – Public Affairs and Public Policy Secretary Ramón Rosario announced Wednesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) awarded a $19 million contract to Aptim Federal Services to install a 25-megawatt generator at the Yabucoa power plant and provide more reliable energy to the Yabucoa and Humacao regions.
The official also said the number of personnel working on the repair of power transmission and distribution lines in the different regions of the island continues to increase.
“As reported by the Electric Power Authority [Prepa], in the western region 125 PowerSecure workers came in under a USACE contract to join the Cobra Energy crews that have arrived in the past few days,” Rosario said.
He added that Prepa had restored more than 42% of its generation capacity Tuesday. They following towns have been partially connected to the grid: Aguadilla, Añasco, Arecibo, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Camuy, Coamo, Corozal, Florida, Guaynabo, Hatillo, Hormigueros, Lajas, Lares, Mayagüez, Ponce, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Sebastián, Santa Isabel, Toa Baja, Utuado, Vega Alta and Vega Baja.
Meanwhile, the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa) reported providing service to 27,284 more customers, for a total of 1,098,633, or 85.38%. The island’s metropolitan area has had 95% of its water service restored, while the north is up to 67%; the west 83%; the south 90%; and the east 84%.
Prasa continues to work with filtration plants such as such as Corozal’s and Morovis Sur, which have had problems drawing raw, or untreated, water.
Similarly, there were problems with the electric generator at the Río Lajas pump station in Dorado, as well as with the Santa Isabel filtration plant; the Acerola well and Arraiza in Vega Baja; in Cerro Gordo II, Casey I and II in Añasco; and in Furnias I in Las Marías. At the Ceiba Sur dam in Juncos, cleanup that affects customers in the Gandul sector is being carried out. Also, at Saltos I in Orocovis, the power station is off pending the completion of work in the area.
The Transportation & Public Works Department (DTOP by its Spanish initials) said its AutoExpreso toll website is up and residents may access their accounts and verify their balance. Most of the toll stations where one can add credit to the toll card are now open.
Rosario said drivers will not pay tolls used from September 20 to 24 and, in addition, those who drove through them without credit will not be fined. When adding credit to their toll account, drivers can pay what they owe since Sept. 25 without fines or surcharges.
There are now 259 bank branches and 1,211 automatic teller machines (ATMs) reportedly in operation. Meanwhile, 2,460 evacuees and 129 pets remain in 61 shelters.
The secretary recalled that the hospital vessel USNS Comfort is docked at the San Juan pier and is seeing patients. About 3,700 people have been treated, while 24 patients continue on the ship.
Regarding telecommunications, 72 percent of customers have cell service and 1,418 antennas are working.
In collaboration with the government, Liberty Puerto Rico continues to offer Wi-Fi service in several towns for residents to access the internet, complete Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) claims, as well as gain access health services and entertainment. It was in Yabucoa on Wednesday, will serve Guayama on Thursday and Salinas on Friday.