MARIA AND IRMA RECOVERY
USVI AND PR 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. Additionally, a few DOE-WAPA engineers will support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) emergency power restoration efforts on Puerto Rico.
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 .
PR Restoration: Developing long-term plans, March 26, 2018
As restoration efforts wind down, WAPA’s remaining electrical engineer, Jeff Miller, and other Department of Energy personnel continue to work with PREPA on plans for the upcoming recovery phase to make the island’s grid more resilient during future hurricane seasons.
PR Restoration: Transitioning to recovery, March 20, 2018
PREPA announced that 93 percent of customers in Puerto Rico now have power. Electrical Engineer Jeff Miller, WAPA’s remaining employee on island, continues to support PREPA, USACE and DOE with the final power restoration efforts, including implementing plans to energize Vieques and Culebra. As contract and repair work begins to wind down, Miller and DOE continue to discuss the future of the island’s electric system with Puerto Rico leadership and help evaluate bids for the next round of construction work to prepare for the next hurricane season.
PR Restoration: Engineer returns home after successful deployment, March 2, 2018
Electrical Engineer Abel Betancourt returned to the U.S., March 2, after successfully completing a deployment to the San Juan Area Office in support of power restoration efforts. Betancourt was critical to the safety of the Blue Roof mission, which needed to know which distribution lines may be energized before installing new blue roofs. Betancourt also supported transformer repair and replacement. Electrical Engineer Jeff Miller, WAPA’s final deployed employee, is working with New York Power Authority to plan a temporary or permanent generator solution for the islands of Vieques and Culebra while the grid is rebuilt.
PR Restoration: Deployers support Blue Roof mission, Feb. 24, 2018
Deployed electrical engineers are supporting various demobilization efforts as contractors and subcontractors complete their work. Engineers also advise the Blue Roof mission if nearby service lines are energized so there is not dangerous contact with those lines while installing blue roofs. According to USACE, the last contractor should be finished by April 7.
PR Restoration: Engineer returns home after successful deployment, Feb. 20, 2018
Electrical Engineer Jorge Alva completed his deployment in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Aguadilla Area office and successfully returned to the U.S., Feb. 19. Alva, along with the two other remaining WAPA personnel, provided power restoration expertise and reviewed deviation requests for equipment and routing. The two other engineers continue to work with PREPA and USACE on repairing and replacing transformers, assisting safety representatives and coordinating the overall master restoration plan for transmission and distribution systems. Electrical Engineer Jeff Miller has assumed a leadership role in Puerto Rico on a permanent solution to restore power to Vieques and Culebra and is the DOE lead for assigning new DOE personnel to fit current and projected work. Electrical Engineer Abel Betancourt has been involved with testing underground lines and supporting transformer repairs and replacement.
PR Restoration: More deployed personnel push focus to faster, less expensive restoration, Jan. 29, 2018
The Army Corps of Engineers added field offices in multiple areas in Puerto Rico, which has allowed WAPA’s engineers to focus on deviation requests, advising on environmentally conscious decisions and identifying existing working infrastructure that will allow for faster and less expensive restoration. They are also assisting USACE’s Bill of Materials (BOM) squad in understanding material needs, material substitutions and alternative means to secure material when long lead items are provided by a manufacturer. WAPA Engineers have become the Department of Energy on-island leads for USACE and DOE, assisting them with determining where new deployed personnel will be located, providing continuity in work practices and delivering safety and electrical grid training for new arrivals.
PR Restoration: More than 1 million customers regain electricity, Jan. 22, 2018
PREPA announced that more than 1 million customers have electric service in Puerto Rico. WAPA engineers are currently working on re-energizing the community of Vieques and providing technical expertise to help newly deployed personnel understand the island’s electrical system, reviewing load stability and directing limited resources to where they can do the most benefit.
PR Restoration: Directing resources where they can do this most benefit, Jan. 16, 2018
With rebuilding well underway, WAPA employees are helping prioritize assignments, review load stability and direct limited resources to where they can do the most benefit. WAPA and other DOE experts continue to be concerned with safety as there are thousands of line workers on island, but only a few safety managers. Safety is crucial to preventing injuries as parts of Puerto Rico are restored. The Army Corps of Engineers released a short video about supplying on-island crews with critical grid components and mentioned WAPA’s support in making sure that happened.
PR Restoration: Rebuilding of Puerto Rico grid well underway, Jan. 8, 2018
As Puerto Rico’s grid is rebuilt and communities energized, WAPA employees continue to help prioritize assignments, review load stability and direct limited resources to where they can do the most benefit. Additionally, they are supporting continuity by providing training to new deployed personnel as they arrive on island. Recently, with help from WAPA employees and many others, Clara Township was re-energized.
PR Restoration: Personnel change outs in Puerto Rico, Dec. 26, 2017
WAPA deployed Desert Southwest Power System Maintenance Specialist Abel Betancourt to Puerto Rico, Dec. 26, bringing WAPA’s on-island participation back to three. The engineers, along with dozens of others, will work through the holidays to support power restoration efforts.
PR Restoration: Engineers advise on priorities, equipment substitutions, Dec. 18, 2017
Our employees are helping USACE and PREPA prioritize assignments, review purchase orders, navigate pole loading concerns and make determinations on appropriate substitutions for material when equipment is scarce. They are also assisting with assigning new arrivals where they can best support USACE and inspect power restoration work completed by contractors.
PR Restoration: Personnel change outs in Puerto Rico, Dec. 11, 2017
WAPA deployed Desert Southwest Electrical Engineer Jorge Alva to Aguadilla, Dec. 9, while Headquarter Civil Engineer Scott Esplin returned home from Ceiba, Dec. 9, after training his replacement from Bonneville Power Administration. WAPA employees are assisting with daily work assignments and coordinating between USACE, PREPA and other utilities and sub-contractors, helping all understand construction and safety practices. They continue to inspect work that is completed for quality control and review designs and material acquisition requests for work yet to be done.
PR Restoration: Engineers continue assessing damage on Puerto Rico, Dec. 4, 2017
Two of our engineers continue to support the FEMA and USACE Puerto Rico mission by providing lifecycle inspection and quality control for rebuilding the Puerto Rico power grid. The last week employees survey damaged power lines and substations, review purchase orders for replacement equipment, provide advice and guidance on designs for rebuilding and provide quality control inspections for materials and ongoing construction. Both engineers continue to participate in daily assignments and coordination meetings with USACE and PREPA and are actively involved in the Veiques Island restoration plan. The engineers are also advising USACE on micro-grids and where they can be implemented due to the extensive time it will take to rebuild the electrical infrastructure in badly damaged and rural areas. The need for emergency assistance in Puerto Rico remains, and WAPA’s experts will work through December in support of FEMA, DOE and the Army Corps of Engineers mission.
PR Restoration: Stepping in to support USACE district level, Nov. 29, 2017
Two WAPA engineers continue to offer support to USACE’s regional field offices (in Ceiba and San Juan) on Puerto Rico in understanding construction practices, answering information requests, and assisting the safety representatives in their duties. Additionally, WAPA Engineer Jeff Miller is taking over the USACE District level duties from BPA’s SME Shane Hester, who demobilized today, Nov. 29. The role includes participating in the weekly briefings to the Colonel in charge of the operations, transmission and distribution priority planning meetings and daily stakeholder meetings.
USVI Restoration: Demobilization complete, Nov. 29, 2017
Two DOE-WAPA linemen departed St. Thomas today, and will arrive home in California tomorrow, Nov. 30. The linemen are the final crew members to demobilize.
USVI Restoration: Equipment repaired for the long trek home, Nov. 28, 2017
Two DOE-WAPA linemen conducted a final inspection of the fleet of heavy equipment vehicles to be returned home following almost two months of operating 7-days a week in support of the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency power restoration effort. The 10 vehicles were signed over to a shipping contractor, Nov. 28, in advance of barge shipment to Florida on Dec. 3.
USVI Restoration: Demobilization continues on St. Thomas, Nov. 25, 2017
Five DOE-WAPA deployed team members demobilized and flew back home today, leaving two DOE-WAPA crew linemen on St. Thomas to manage heavy equipment return shipping next week. After close-out discussions with USVI-WAPA regarding the FEMA-issued DOE-WAPA mission assignment, the demobilizing crew expressed gratitude for the partnership and pride in being part of the humanitarian effort to restore power to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The work now continues with several hundred off-island distribution linemen working on all three islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix) to meet the USVI-WAPA goal of 90-percent power restored by Christmas.
USVI Restoration: Demobilization and mission clean up continue on St. Thomas, Nov. 24, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews removed the last two switching lockout tags today, Nov. 24, and returned unused line hardware and material to the USVI-WAPA supply yard. The team then power washed the DOE-WAPA heavy equipment at the St. Thomas Randolph Harley power plant in preparation for shipping next week. Four DOE-WAPA crew members then demobilized and returned home.
PR Restoration: Engineer returns home following substation field reviews, Nov. 24, 2017
One of the three WAPA engineers deployed to Puerto Rico returned home, Nov. 24, after completing site visits and field reviews of Puerto Rico substations that were flooded by Hurricane Maria. The assessments were done in support of a DOE report about the flood-damaged substations.
USVI Restoration: Giving thanks on St. Thomas, Nov. 23, 2017
USVI-WAPA staff hosted a Thanksgiving Day luncheon, Nov. 23, and invited DOE-WAPA’s 11 crew members to join in the music and festivities on St. Thomas. Earlier the DOE-WAPA crews used their equipment to transport replacement poles to locations in the neighborhood near East End Substation where there are still several damaged structures.
USVI Restoration: Framing poles and sharing the holiday on St. Thomas, Nov. 22, 2017
The next five DOE-WAPA employees returned home in advance of Thanksgiving. The 11 remaining deployed crew members are transporting, framing and setting distribution utility poles near East End Substation on St. Thomas. USVI-WAPA staff has invited the DOE-WAPA crew members to join a Thanksgiving Day luncheon, Nov. 23.
PR Restoration: Power system expertise assists USACE on Puerto Rico, Nov. 22, 2017
WAPA Engineers are advising USACE Regional Field Offices (RFO) about construction practices, answering requests for information and proper safety measures working around power lines . WAPA Engineer Pedro Barrios completed field reviews of the flooded substations in the DOE assessment report and continues to assist in the effort to restore the Praxair facility. WAPA Engineer Jeff Miller provided guidance to USACE about design efficiencies to re-energize the area quicker. Miller also joined USACE discussions about working in geographic areas instead of individual locations to energize a greater area at one time.
USVI Restoration: Demobilization continues for crew on St. Thomas, Nov. 21, 2017
Three DOE-WAPA employees returned home today in advance of Thanksgiving. The remaining 16 deployed crew members are transporting, framing and setting distribution utility poles for USVI-WAPA, and cleaning DOE-WAPA’s heavy equipment to be sent home, Nov. 28.
USVI Restoration: St. Thomas close-out review underway, Nov. 20, 2017
DOE-WAPA Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel and DOE-WAPA USVI Incident Commander Jimmy Kendrick conducted a close-out review, Nov. 17-21, of the completed transmission system work and collected first-hand lessons learned and best practices of emergency response. DOE-WAPA crews completed repairs on St. Thomas’ transmission since mid-September as part of the USVI emergency power restoration mission.
USVI Restoration: Cabrita Point distribution circuit gets new conductor, St. Thomas, Nov. 19, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews finished conductor work in the Cabrita Point neighborhood. With the new conductor properly pulled in and sagged, the distribution circuit is ready to be turned back over to USVI-WAPA and reenergized.
USVI Restoration: Restoration work near Cabrita Point, St. Thomas, Nov. 18, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews are preparing structures in advance of replacing conductor on a distribution circuit in the Cabrita Point neighborhood. Yesterday, DOE-WAPA crews finished framing and setting poles in the area.
USVI Restoration: Demobilization begins, Nov. 17, 2017
With the the St. Thomas transmission system repaired and more than 500 distribution linemen supporting the next phase of USVI energy infrastructure restoration work, five DOE-WAPA line crew members departed St. Thomas, today, heading home. Over the next week, DOE-WAPA crews will support other USVI-WAPA requests for utility pole replacements, while preparing people, equipment and vehicles for departure in advance of winter maintenance activities within DOE-WAPA’s service territory. USVI power restoration work will continue with USVI-WAPA, FEMA and DOE partnering to repair and re-energize distribution lines on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.
PR Restoration: Site assessments at flood-damaged substations complete, Nov. 17, 2017
WAPA engineers completed site assessments at all Puerto Rico substations that experienced moderate and severe flooding and initiated a substation safety training class with PREPA for DOE and USACE personnel. The engineers will advise USACE and PREPA on repairs to the substations, structure evaluations and analysis of the island’s infrastructure.
PR Restoration: Engineers serving USACE and PREPA, Nov. 15, 2017
Three DOE-WAPA engineers remain busy across Puerto Rico in supporting FEMA, USACE and PREPA work. The engineers are providing power system engineering expertise regarding structural evaluations and analysis of the island’s infrastructure.
USVI Restoration: DOE-WAPA repairs to St. Thomas transmission system complete, Nov. 14, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews report that they completed repairs to the 34.5-kv Feeder 07 transmission line (on the east side of St. Thomas). During the past week, the DOE-WAPA crew framed and set 15 utility poles, reframed and inspected 25 utility poles, and restrung conductor across 25 spans. The completion of Feeder 07 marks the last segment of repairs for St. Thomas’ transmission system. DOE-WAPA crews will provide close-out assistance to USVI-WAPA, while demobilizing during the two weeks.
USVI Restoration: St. Thomas transmission system work nears completion, Nov. 13, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews report that they are within three days of completing the 34.5-kv transmission system repairs on St. Thomas, specifically to the Feeder 07 transmission line (on the east side of the island). This is the last portion of the transmission line needing repair between East End and Donald Francois substations. Once the DOE-WAPA crews mission is complete, they will transition to provide close-out assistance to USVI-WAPA, while demobilizing.
PR Restoration: Engineers subject matter expertise stretches across Puerto Rico, Nov. 11, 2017
WAPA Engineers continue to work on various tasks across Puerto Rico in support of FEMA, USACE and PREPA. WAPA Engineer Jeff Miller is coordinating transmission line questions with a transmission line engineer in San Juan. He is also supporting DOE’s evaluation of guyed lattice towers as replacement structures and continues to support USACE’s safety-related tasks for power restoration. Miller set up a Nov. 15 safety meeting for the west-side of Puerto Rico between PREPA, USACE and the power restoration contractor. WAPA Engineer Scott Esplin is providing subject matter expertise to USACE, PREPA and power restoration contractors to refine the scope of construction work. WAPA Engineer Pedro Barrios is working with a PREPA contact to continue reviewing substations and validating the analysis done on those facilities damaged by flooding.
USVI Restoration: Work begins on final stretch of transmission system, Nov. 9, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews are working on the final segment of transmission line for Feeder 07-D, on the east side of St. Thomas. The work is anticipated to take a little over a week. Then DOE-WAPA crews will transition to provide close-out transmission system assistance to USVI-WAPA until demobilization.
PR Restoration: Engineers developing safety training and evaluating substations in Puerto Rico, Nov. 9, 2017
WAPA Engineer Jeff Miller reported that the USACE continues to use their subject matter expertise in an advisory capacity for conducting pre-audit work before contractors begin restoration work, as well as in evaluating structural options for the energy infrastructure. The WAPA engineers are also continuing to review 18 substations to validate the analysis done on those facilities regarding flood damage.
USVI Restoration: Transmission system in 3 neighborhoods complete, Nov. 8, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews safely completed rebuild work on St. Thomas transmission line feeder 07-D in the Sapphire Beach, Smith Bay and North End neighborhoods (east side of the island), Nov. 7. Crews inspected or rebuilt 62 structures, replaced 16 wood poles, and installed over a mile worth of conductor. DOE-WAPA released its clearances on that portion of the feeder 07-D and turned over control to VI-WAPA. This morning, Nov. 8, the DOE-WAPA crews held an extensive tailboard to discuss the next segment of transmission line work on feeder 07-D near Highway 38 where they will place personal protective grounds and prepare worksites by removing damaged poles and conductor.
PR Restoration: Engineers develop safety training and evaluate substations in Puerto Rico, Nov. 8, 2017
WAPA Engineer Scott Esplin continues to support the Cieba office on the east side of the island, advising the USACE resident engineer and safety representative on standard construction practices. WAPA Engineer Pedro Barrios is assisting BPA Engineer Shane Hester in the USACE District office with questions regarding the substation side of the industry. Barrios is aiding PREPA in setting up a substation safety training class for non-construction workers. WAPA Engineers and PREPA continue to validate the substation flood damage report with site visit evaluations. The evaluations could be used to develop recommendations for mitigating future flooding at these stations. WAPA Engineer Jeff Miller is assisting San Juan field office safety representatives and conducting training for the USACE Quality Assurance Team members across the island that are responsible for daily reports.
USVI restoration: Update from St. Thomas, Nov. 6, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews continue working on the same section of transmission line between East End and Donald Francois substations. DOE-WAPA’s heavy equipment mechanic is maintaining the trucks and equipment to keep the crews progress in straightening poles, setting poles, and restringing conductor.
PR restoration: Engineers analyzing substations and structures in Puerto Rico, Nov. 6, 2017
Two WAPA engineers are reviewing a substation flood report and visiting the substations to validate the report for accuracy. The engineers will be looking at ways to redesign substations to withstand future catastrophic events, in coordination with USACE and PREPA. The third WAPA engineer is in the field evaluating the status of several concrete poles, as well as continuing to work with USACE Quality Assurance team members on electrical safety and technical training.
USVI restoration: Citizens near Sapphire Beach get power back, Nov. 3, 2017
USVI-WAPA reported in a Nov. 2 news release that customers along the Red Hook road from East End Substation to Sapphire Beach was restored on St. Thomas. This is the underbuilt distribution line on which DOE-WAPA crews were recently working. DOE-WAPA crews continue to frame and set poles between East End and Donald Francois substations. One of the DOE-WAPA digger derricks is in need of repairs and DOE-WAPA’s heavy equipment mechanic expects to have it back in service in two days. Additionally, DOE-WAPA crews are assessing and restocking materials (poles, hardware, conductor) as part of planning for the next segment of transmission line repairs.
PR restoration: Engineers continue power system training and analysis in Puerto Rico, Nov. 3, 2017
Two WAPA engineers continue to provide training on quality assurance and control with USACE staff, Nov 3. WAPA’s other engineer and an engineer from Bonneville Power Administration participated in several Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and USACE coordination meetings to provide technical power system engineering expertise.
USVI restoration: Focus on Northeast section of St. Thomas, Nov. 2, 2017
The DOE-WAPA crews are continuing to frame and set poles northeast of East End Substation that is part of St. Thomas. Crews report that the feeders switch near Sapphire Beach will be energized soon. Crews are also working on an underbuilt 15-kV distribution line that parallels this restored 34.5-kV line segment. Once the 15-kV line is restored, it will energize a substantial portion of residential and commercial meters.
PR restoration: Engineers join USACE in preparing for more crews, Nov. 2, 2017
The three WAPA engineers are individually embedded with USACE emergency power restoration teams, providing quality assurance support and analyzing system restoration plans. Activity on Puerto Rico’s power restoration effort is anticipated to ramp up next week, Nov. 6-10, as more equipment and crews arrive to help with the rebuild. The WAPA engineers will continue to provide their technical expertise to support USACE.
USVI restoration: Transmission line repairs going well, Nov. 1, 2017
The DOE-WAPA crews are continuing to frame, transport and set wood poles between East End and Donald Francois substations. They have replaced 8 wood poles, straightened and inspected 26 poles, as well as replaced 45 damaged insulators on these poles. The DOE-WAPA crews pulled in 16 spans of new conductor.
PR restoration: Engineers provide safety awareness in Puerto Rico, Nov. 1, 2017
Embedded with USACE teams across Puerto Rico, WAPA engineers are participating in safety related to hazards associated with line work and the inspection of line work, training in quality assurance, as well as evaluating substations and how to get large customers back in service.
PR restoration: Engineers support power restoration planning, Oct. 31, 2017
WAPA’s three engineers in Puerto Rico are embedded with USACE teams across the island to provide their technical expertise in engineering power systems. Two of the deployed engineers assist with training the USACE staff on quality assurance (QA) in reporting the contractors’ equipment, material and hours for each work day. The third engineers is supporting USACE’s assessments of the Puerto Rico power system to determine what loads can be secured.
USVI restoration: Trucks repaired, work continues on St. Thomas, Oct. 29, 2017
DOE-WAPA Heavy Equipment Mechanic has repairs both trucks and they are back on the job. The DOE-WAPA crews had an extended tailgate this morning to bring the newly arrived linemen up to speed on the work plan and to review and update the job hazard analysis. The crews plan to remove and replace six damaged utility poles and hardware along St. Thomas highway 38 today, and replace three more damaged utility poles along Muller Bay.
PR restoration: Engineers training USACE staff, Oct. 29, 2017
WAPA Engineer Pedro Barrios is conducting an aerial assessment of the Puerto Rico power system with FEMA and USACE. WAPA Engineers Jeff Miller and Scott Esplin are instructing and training USACE staff so more USACE representatives can provide quality assurance for contractors doing power restoration on Puerto Rico.
New rotation of linemen arriving to St. Thomas, Oct. 28, 2017
Eight DOE-WAPA linemen arrived on St. Thomas to replace crew members rotating out after almost 30 days of power restoration work. Arriving linemen will receive a safety debrief and work plan update before joining the rest of the team in the final stretch of repairs to the St. Thomas transmission system.
Engineers arrive in Puerto Rico, Oct. 27, 2017
Today, three DOE-WAPA engineers arrived in Puerto Rico to provide subject matter expertise to USACE. Two of the engineers are supporting USACE efforts in San Juan and the third is on the east sided of the island, in Cieba.
Engineers deploying to Puerto Rico, Oct. 26, 2017
DOE-WAPA is deploying 3 engineers with bulk electrical system expertise to Puerto Rico, where they will assist the USACE in technical advice for island’s power restoration. The engineers are deploying today, Oct. 26, and will meet up with USACE tomorrow, Oct. 27.
Working through equipment challenges on USVI, Oct. 25, 2017
Two of DOE-WAPA’s deployed bucket trucks used for stringing conductor are in need of repair. Onsite Heavy Equipment Mechanic Jon Fredrickson is awaiting the replacement parts to fix the two trucks.
Despite being down two trucks, DOE-WAPA crews on St. Thomas continue to make progress framing, straightening and setting utility structures on the 34.5-kv transmission line between East End Substation and Donald Francois Substation. This is the final segment of St. Thomas’ transmission backbone, and it is anticipated to take a few weeks to complete.
Assembling engineering team for Puerto Rico, Oct. 24, 2017
DOE-WAPA is assembling a team of three engineers to provide subject matter expertise to the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Puerto Rico as part of the FEMA-funded mission assignment. Tentatively, the engineers are anticipated to deploy at the end of the week.
Another half-mile transmission segment repaired, Oct. 23, 2017
Today crews pulled in conductor along a half-mile segment of 34.5-kv transmission line between East End and Donald Francois substations. During the past two days, the DOE-WAPA crews safely finished repairs to about 15 structures along a highly trafficked, winding road.
Tackling St. Thomas’ final transmission line segment, Oct. 21, 2017
DOE-WAPA crews finished repairs to the TuTu-East End 34.5-kv transmission line, Oct. 19. Including repairs to 62 utility structures on the line, 24 of which had to be replaced. Now, the crews have a clearance for the segment of St. Thomas’ 34.5-kv transmission system, the line between East End Substation and Donald Francois Substation. The crews will work on this segment for the next couple weeks.
Milestone achieved for St. Thomas power restoration, Oct. 20, 2017
The DOE-WAPA crew on St. Thomas completed repairs to the transmission line between TuTu and East End substations. Today, Oct. 20, the crew will release the clearance and lockout/tagout of the line back to USVI-WAPA’s engineer. Once USVI-WAPA can energizes East End substation and completes testing of the submarine cable, the local power authority can begin re-energizing St. John, which has been 100-percent without power since Hurricane Irma hit Sept. 6.
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 34.5-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 34.5-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 34.5-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.
- Local updates about restoration work are available on U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority website .
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 connect 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.
- Hurricane Maria|FEMA.gov
- Hurricane Irma|FEMA.gov
- Hurricane Harvey|FEMA.gov
- Energy Waiver Library
- Floods and Power Restoration (pdf)
- Restoring Power after a Storm (pdf)
- Community Guidelines for Energy Emergencies
Last modified on November 9th, 2023