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Fluor restores critical transmission line in storm hit Puerto Rico

Texas-based engineering firm Fluor has completed restoring a 38kv power line near San Juan in Puerto Rico, as part of a $240m contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Puerto Rico has been reeling under unprecedented power crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria two months ago, leaving the electric system in the US territory in a paralyzed state.

As part of the contract, Fluor was responsible for restoration of the power grid, repair and replacement of structures and equipment associated with the re-energization and recommissioning of power infrastructure in eastern Puerto Rico.

The six-month contract was awarded in mid-October by the US Army Corps of Engineers Huntsville (Alabama) Engineering Center.

The US Army Corps of Engineers was assigned, under a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mission, to help the Puerto Rico government in restoring power to the Caribbean island.

Following the restoration of the 38kv power line by Fluor, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is expected to re-energize transmission lines.

These lines serve a region in Carolina that is home to residential neighborhoods, a hospital and also a branch campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

Fluor says that it is working with over a dozen local subcontractors and has employed over 600 project personnel to execute its contract. Overall, it has deployed more than 50 crews and over 500 pieces of equipment to complete the project.

Fluor Puerto Rico power restoration project executive program director Matt Hunt said: “We have crews working power line segments in both isolated and urban areas. Our crew mix includes two of Puerto Rico’s largest electrical contractors in addition to two major national electrical contractors.

“Additionally, we have hired a local earth works firm that is performing the critical task of clearing debris and other obstructions. They are also cutting access paths through the mountains so we can get to damaged lines and substations in remote areas.”