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Whitefish CEO proud of Puerto Rico grid work

By on December 7, 2017

SAN JUAN – Whitefish Energy said in a release Wednesday that it has completed its electrical grid repairs in Puerto Rico and restored power service to half a million “people in hospitals, homes and businesses around the San Juan area,” according to its website.

CEO Andy Techmanski said that as the first contractor to arrive in the island following the destruction of Hurricane María on Sep. 20, Whitefish Energy’s work was primarily focused on main 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines that covered the remote, mountainous areas of Puerto Rico and connected key power generating stations and substations to major population and industrial centers.

He mentioned that, over time, several federal agencies and other contractors joined the energy restoration efforts, but Whitefish and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) were initially the only ones making repairs.

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Over the course of two months, Whitefish brought more than 550 crew members and 600 pieces of heavy equipment to the island, “overcoming early logistics and transportation challenges to get both manpower and support services to Puerto Rico.”

By the time Whitefish completed its work on Nov. 30, power restoration stood at 65.6 percent. Its crews completed their repair work on the 50900 transmission line that runs from the south side of the island into the greater San Juan metropolitan area.

Andy Techmanski, CEO of Whitefish Energy (Juan José Rodríguez / CB)

“We are extremely proud of the work our teams accomplished and the contribution we made to the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico,” Techmanski said. “This was a mission and more than just a job, and our linemen and subcontractors worked together and remained focused on helping the people of Puerto Rico. We are pleased that many of our subcontractors are going to stay to continue this effort through completion. We leave the island knowing that we were the right company for the job and did outstanding and vital work despite many obstacles.”

In most areas, Whitefish crews cleared the right-of-ways to reach structures and lines before damage assessment and work could begin, which involved clearing access roads and helicopter staging areas so repair equipment and manpower could be transported to repair sites.

According to the release, the contractor teams replaced “nearly 50 towers, dismantled a like number of towers and inventoried parts for salvage and reuse, replaced nearly 120 poles, and completed corrective action on at least 200 other transmission structures.”

Techmanski added, “Most journeymen linemen we hired have returned to the mainland and hundreds of pieces of equipment are being transported back as well, with the exception of the road equipment and helicopters of several subcontractors that will be staying on to work for other contractors. There is still much to be done, but we know that we played an important role to get our work done quickly, efficiently and safely.”

The work covered more than 200 miles of transmission lines, including the following sections of the grid:

  • Restoration of the 50900 230kV line from Complejo de Aguirre to Aguas Buenas (and portions of the 51000 230kV line that runs parallel)
  • Restoration of the 50100 230kV line from Cambalache to Manatí
  • Restoration of the 50200 230kV line from Manatí to Bayamón
  • Restoration of the 37400 115kV line from Manatí to Barceloneta
  • Restoration of the 36200 115kV line from Villa Betini to Quebrada Negrito
  • Restoration of the 3000 38kV line from San Juan to Juncos

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