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US Repair of Puerto Rico’s power grid won’t be complete until May, Army Corps of Engineers says

02:27  14 december  2017
02:27  14 december  2017 Source:   bloomberg.com

Anger grows as Puerto Rico misses power restoration deadline

  Anger grows as Puerto Rico misses power restoration deadline Union leaders representing Puerto Rico power company workers slammed local and federal officials on Friday as the U.S. territory missed a deadline to restore 95 percent of power as promised by the island's governor.Puerto Rico is currently at 64 percent power generation nearly three months after Hurricane Maria hit, and the situation has sparked a growing number of protests organized by some of the hundreds of neighborhoods that remain in the dark.UTIER union president Angel Figueroa said one of the biggest problems is that workers with Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority still don't have the equipment or material to meet the governor's goal.

Repair of Puerto Rico ’ s power grid won ’ t be complete until the end of May , the head of the U. S . Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday. That departs from statements by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, who said in October that he hoped power would be restored to 95 per cent of the

Questions for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on the power But the last stretch, the hard-to-reach rural areas, will not get power until the end of May , just in The Army Corps said the areas that were expected to take the longest were the central towns of

In this Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, Whitefish Energy Holdings workers restore power lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. © (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File) In this Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, Whitefish Energy Holdings workers restore power lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.

(Bloomberg) -- Puerto Rico’s electrical grid is unlikely to be fully restored until the end of May, the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday -- months longer than the timeline offered by the island’s governor.

Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, commanding general and chief engineer for the Corps, said in an interview Wednesday that he expects the Puerto Rico’s electric grid to reach 75 percent of customers by the end of January, 95 percent by the end of February, and 100 percent by the end of May, more than eight months after Hurricane Maria hit.

Puerto Rico: Thousands wait for roofs

  Puerto Rico: Thousands wait for roofs A dispute over a government contract has slowed efforts to build temporary roofs for people in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, officials from the US Army Corps of Engineers told CNN.The Army Corps runs a program called "Operation Blue Roof," which provides and installs temporary roofs for people on the Caribbean island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria more than two months ago. Since then, the Army Corps has installed 17,672 roofs in Puerto Rico as part of that program -- only 26% of the 66,906 applications for such roofing help.

Say a lot with a little. When you see a Tweet you love, tap the heart — it lets the person who wrote it know you shared the love. Spread the word. So let' s get our calendars out and do the math: that means rural, mountain areas of Puerto Rico are expected to go without power for eight months.

The US Army Corps of Engineers will extend its mission in Puerto Rico , but not help repair the power grid as "While the Army Corps of Engineers may have completed their mission as tasked, it Ricardo Rosselló, for the contract to be extended another 180 days or until the work is completed .

That departs from statements by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, who said in October that he hoped power would be restored to 95 percent of the grid by Dec. 15. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority made a similar pledge last month, saying it would reach 95 percent of customers by the end of December.

The slow pace of restoring electricity following Hurricane Maria has become shorthand for the U.S. government’s uneven response. Just 61 percent of electricity had been restored as of Wednesday, according to data on a website run by the island’s government.

The Army Corps is a key part of a task force of U.S. government and outside groups working with Puerto Rico’s government to restore power on the island.

Semonite said he had told Rossello on Oct. 27 that the Dec. 15 timeline was unrealistic. "Governor, there’s no way you’re going to get 95 percent" by that point, Semonite recounted telling Rossello. "And he was very, very upset."

Puerto Rico: Hurricane death toll climbs to 64

  Puerto Rico: Hurricane death toll climbs to 64 The number of people who died in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria has risen to 64, the island's Department of Public Safety said Saturday. The government added two more storm-related deaths to the official total. However, investigations by CNN and other news organizations show the overall number may be much higher. "These deaths that are certified today as indirect deaths related to Hurricane Maria are the result of investigations into cases that have been brought to our consideration," DPS Secretary Hector M. Pesquera said in a news release.

According to officials on Wednesday, the hard-hit island of Puerto Rico will not have power fully restored until May , almost eight months after Hurricane The US Army Corps of Engineers , which is leading restoration efforts, has blamed delays on a combination of logistical and territorial issues.

The Army Corps of Engineers is telling its electrical restoration contractors to start scaling back their work, frustrating residents who may still be months away from getting Nearly 1,000 workers have left the island in the last two weeks in what the Army Corps of Engineers calls a “responsible drawdown

"The bottom line is, he ought to be upset, because all of his people ought to have electricity," Semonite said. "We’re just as compassionate as the governor is at getting his guys electricity. That’s why I have 700 guys that are going to be there over Christmas."

To illustrate the challenge of getting the grid fully restored, Semonite described flying over a cluster of four homes on the top of a mountain, fed by a single wire that goes up the side of a cliff.

"Those four houses, what I call the last mile, they’re going to take a long time. So I said probably the end of May to get to 100 percent. I’d love to go faster."

Yennifer Alvarez, a spokeswoman for Rossello’s administration, didn’t immediately have a comment. 

--With assistance from Yalixa Rivera

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Flavelle in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at [email protected], Mark Drajem

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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