Whitefish Energy has completed the projects to make important transmission line and electrical grid repairs in Puerto Rico. As the first contractor to get to the island following the destruction of Hurricane Maria on Sep. 20, Whitefish Energy's work was primarily focused on main 230kV transmission lines that covered the remote, mountainous areas of Puerto Rico and connected key power generating stations and substations to major population and industrial centers.
While a number of federal agencies and other contractors eventually joined in the power restoration effort, Whitefish Energy and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) were initially the only parties on the ground making repairs. Over the course of two months, Whitefish Energy brought more than 550 crew members and 600 pieces of heavy equipment to the island, overcoming early logistics and transportation challenges to get both manpower and support services to Puerto Rico. By the time Whitefish Energy completed its work on Nov. 30, power restoration stood at 65.6 percent and it should continue to increase with the Nov. 30 completion of the important 50900 transmission line that runs from the south side of the island into the greater San Juan metropolitan area. With the restoration of key transmission lines, PREPA and other contractors can now continue the distribution line work that will bring power into more neighborhoods and facilities.
"We are extremely proud of the work our teams accomplished and the contribution we made to the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico," said Andy Techmanski, CEO of Whitefish Energy. "This was a mission and more than just a job, and our linemen and subcontractors worked together and remained focused on helping the people of Puerto Rico. We are pleased that many of our subcontractors are going to stay to continue this effort through completion. We leave the island knowing that we were the right company for the job and did outstanding and vital work despite many obstacles."
Whitefish Energy's scope of completed work included the following sections of the electrical grid on Puerto Rico:
- Restoration of the 50900 230kV line from Complejo de Aguirre to Aguas Buenas (and portions of the 51000 230kV line that runs parallel)
- Restoration of the 50100 230kV line from Cambalache to Manatí
- Restoration of the 50200 230kV line from Manatí to Bayamón
- Restoration of the 37400 115kV line from Manatí to Barceloneta
- Restoration of the 36200 115kV line from Villa Betini to Quebrada Negrito
- Restoration of the 3000 38kV line from San Juan to Juntos
The sum of the Whitefish Energy work covered more than 200 miles of transmission lines. In most areas, Whitefish Energy crews cleared the right-of-ways to reach structures and lines before damage assessment and work could even begin. That preliminary work also involved clearing access roads and helicopter staging areas so that repair equipment and manpower could be transported to repair sites. Over the course of that 200 miles of repair work, teams replaced nearly 50 towers, dismantled a like number of towers and inventoried parts for salvage and reuse, replaced nearly 120 poles, and completed corrective action on at least 200 other transmission structures.
Techmanski added, "Most journeymen linemen we hired have returned to the mainland and hundreds of pieces of equipment are being transported back as well, with the exception of the road equipment and helicopters of several subcontractors that will be staying on to work for other contractors. There is still much to be done, but we know that we played an important role to get our work done quickly, efficiently and safely."