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Opportunities and Challenges Ahead in Rebuilding Puerto Rico's Electric Grid

On Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane María visited Puerto Rico, bringing with it cataclysmic destruction unparalleled in the last 100 years. María’s winds left an already debilitated electrical grid totally useless. A Class 4 direct hit, the first in 90 years and the only direct hit in modern history. The entire overhead aerial electric grid had come crashing to the ground after endless hours of 155 mph winds. Thousands of lattice work towers were destroyed or damaged and an estimated 50,000 poles were down and in need of replacement. There was no stock of materials to rebuild with. The lattice tower grid, built across the island’s mountains, had delivered power from generation in the south to the densely populated north and eastern shores.  All the island’s power plants were severely damaged and most were completely or partially offline. The rudimentary preliminary restoration of service took the Corps of Engineers and thousands of local and stateside contractors, billions of dollars and a year to accomplish. Today, 99% of the population is back online, but hundreds of FEMA generators remain in service. READ MORE

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