Maria and Irma Recovery

Linemen from WAPA's Sierra Nevada region dig a hole on St. Thomas, Oct. 3, to support a new utility pole as part of power restoration efforts. 

See more photos of the WAPA-deployed 25-member crew and the aid to restore power to the U.S. Virgin Islands following the damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria on WAPA's ​Flickr album.

USVI Emergency Restoration

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Department of Energy's Western Area Power Administration (DOE-WAPA) is sending crews to help the U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (USVI-WAPA) restore the energy infrastructure and citizen's access to power. 

Situation reports

We will maintain this website with updates about the recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, DOE is maintaining comprehensive Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey Situation Reports​​ that cover all the restoration work in sections by state/region, and USVI-WAPA has local updates on its website                   .

T-line restoration drawing closer to East End Substation, Oct. 18, 2017
The DOE-WAPA crew continues its systematic restoration progress on the 34.5-kv transmission line between TuTu and East End substations. They anticipate finishing this stretch of line sometime this weekend, Oct. 21-22. Once the line and the East End Substation are re-energized, it will be possible to re-energize the submarine 115-kv line that transmits power to St. John.

Crew stringing conductor on replaced structures, Oct. 17, 2017
The DOE-WAPA crews continue to pull through conductor along a section of replace transmission structures between TuTu and East End substations. The rest of this week the crews will continue repairs to this section of St. Thomas’ 34.5kv transmission system. The goal is to energize East End Substation, which connects to the submarine 115-kv line that transmits power to St. John.

Restoration work continues through rain, Oct. 16, 2017
Rain continues to pour down on St. Thomas, while DOE-WAPA crews work on a highly-trafficked segment of line between TuTu and East End substations. Split into two teams, the crews are replacing downed transmission poles, repairing dead-end structures and getting conductor put back up.​

Deployment rotation this weekend, Oct. 14-15, 2017
This weekend the DOE-WAPA team is rotating deployed staff. This will ensure the deployment crew is well-rested and can continue the pace of progress on restoring the transmission system on St. Thomas. 
  • ​​Departure: One member has already returned home and four more members are set to leave St. Thomas, Oct. 14.
  • Arrival: Five linemen will deploy from across DOE-WAPA and are expected to arrive on St. Thomas, Oct. 15. Once there, the five linemen will receive an initial safety debrief and work plan update before integrating into the restoration effort.​

DOE WAPA crew progresses east, Oct. 10, 2017
The 25-member deployment team is working as two crews setting new utility poles and restringing conductor on St. Thomas' 34.5-kilovolt transmission system. On Oct. 9, VI-WAPA was able to reenergize TuTu Substation with power from the Randolph Harley power plant because DOE WAPA crews had completed restoration on that section of transmission line. The crews are now working on the transmission line toward a substation on the East side of the island, which connects to the submarine 115-kv line that transmits power to St. John. VI-WAPA contractors are working on repairs to the overhead-to-submarine line at the substation.

Restoration effort paused to honor VI-WAPA lineman, Oct. 7, 2017
DOE WAPA line crews joined USVI-WAPA line crews in standing down from power restoration work, Oct. 7, to attend the funeral service honoring VI WAPA's fallen Lineman Jason Julius. Power restoration work on St. Thomas will resume Oct. 8.

Transmission line repairs continue, Oct. 5, 2017
The deployed 25-member crew is continuing to work on the St. Thomas 34.5-kilovolt transmission system. The team has been concentrating on replacing utility poles and restringing conductor between some of the island's substations, specifically near the Solar and TuTu substations.

​Full deployment team on St. Thomas, Oct. 3, 2017
DOE-WAPA's 25-member deployment team is on St. Thomas continuing restoration work of the 34.5-kv transmission system. The final four linemen arrived today and are receiving a safety briefing and work plan update, before joining the rest of the crew on the jobsite, Oct. 4. 
Full deployment team on its way, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2017
​Joining the eight-member advance team on St. Thomas, DOE-WAPA has deployed an additional 17 linemen and equipment to aid with the island's power restoration efforts. The crews are staggering arrival over the weekend to ensure safety, and proper integration into USVI-WAPA's restoration plans and assignments. DOE-WAPA equipment, including bucket trucks and digger derricks, is enroute from Florida to St. Thomas.
Work update from St. Thomas, Sept. 26, 2017
The USVI-WAPA teamed up with the DOE-WAPA advance team to begin repairs of a transmission line from St. Thomas’ Randolph Harley power plant. Similar to an assembly line, the USVI-WAPA crew led the process by setting poles, and the DOE-WAPA team followed up to string conductor on the 34.5-kilovolt transmission line.

Safety precautions taken on transmission line, Sept. 25, 2017
The DOE-WAPA advance team working with an engineer from USVI-WAPA conducted lockout/tagout​​ procedures for a 34.5-kilovolt transmission line between two substations on St. Thomas. This safety work is critical for ensuring the line is verified as de​-energized before crews begin repairing the main transmission system. 

Partnership begins for St. Thomas power restoration, Sept. 24, 2017
DOE-WAPA’s eight-person advance team arrived on St. Thomas, the afternoon of Sept. 23. The advance team and U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority met to go over the restoration plans and safety protocols. Today, the two utilities are teaming up to keep working on repairs for the local 34.5-kilovolt system. This is the first energy restoration support the USVI-WAPA has received since Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit, Sept. 6 and Sept. 20 respectively.
Advance team assists PREPA in planning, Sept. 22, 2017
The advance team met with Puerto Rico Electric Public Authority (PREPA), surveyed the area and visited the PREPA command center. The team provided technical assistance to PREPA in planning first steps in restoration of Puerto Rico's power. The New York Power Authority is anticipated to partner with PREPA on the restoration effort.

Equipment on its way, Sept. 21, 2017
Right now the immediate need in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico is life-saving and life-sustaining measures, following Hurricane Maria. In advance of the response and power restoration efforts, FEMA and WAPA are transporting several bucket trucks and digger derricks to Florida, for shipping to the U.S. Virgin Islands, as soon as it is safe to do so. The crews will use the equipment to assist U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority with restoration efforts on St. Thomas.

Advance team safe after Hurricane Maria, Sept. 20, 2017
The eight-member advance team checked-in and confirmed they are safe following Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico today. The island has quite a bit of damage and flooding from the hurricane’s 175 mph winds. Will Schnyer, part of the advance team, reported from the hotel in San Juan. “The staff here have been great in getting us through this," said Schnyer. "Everyone is in good spirits and are looking forward to performing our mission duties on St. Thomas.”​​​

Advance team arrives in Puerto Rico, Sept. 18, 2017

Several DOE-WAPA employees arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 18, ahead of Hurricane Maria. Once the storm has passed, the advance team will work with the local FEMA team and the USVI-WAPA to assess the damage and develop a comprehensive restoration plan.

Advance team deploying, Sept. 17, 2017
Tonight, several DOE-WAPA employees are leaving for San Juan to get to the U.S. Virgin Islands ahead of the next tropical storm. They will conne​ct with the local FEMA team and the U.S. Virgin Island Water and Power Authority to assess the situation and develop an approach for the incoming crews to work safely and quickly to restore power.​

Crews, equipment assembling to respond, Sept. 15, 2017
DOE-WAPA is assembling an advance team of about 10 people to assess and plan the restoration, as well as begin clearing. Then additional staff and a few trucks will go in a second wave to begin the emergency energy restoration efforts in St. Thomas. The crews plan to deploy next week. Once there, the small teams will work along side U.S. Virgin Island Water and Power Authority to begin replacing power line poles and restringing conductor.
FEMA ​Mission Assignment authorized, Sept. 13, 2017
In response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's request, DOE has activated support from the Western Area Power Administration. DOE-WAPA will provide emergency power restoration to the U.S. Virgin Islands, as directed by FEMA. All plans of action must be coordinated with the impacted Territory and its electric utility, the USVI-WAPA.​​


Page Last Updated: 10/18/2017 5:26 PM