27 personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District augmented by three personnel from other Corps districts arrived in Puerto Rico March 6 to begin a 45-day Standard Temporary Emergency Power Mission rotation. This unprecedented mission is as demanding today as it was in October 2017 during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as many Puerto Ricans remain without a steady power source.
USACE powered Micro Grids provide electricity throughout the island while the USACE Grid Restoration team works on a larger mission to create a permanent power distribution system. As assessments and installations continue at a rapid pace, Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Savannah Power Response Team (PRT) are focusing right now on schools so children may assemble in a safe and relatively comfortable place for education during the hottest part of the day. The temporary generator power at schools ensures health and food safety so meals may be served to children.
“Keeping the lights on” requires an incredible logistical support mechanism. The cumulative amount of temporary emergency power supplied by USACE could power an aircraft carrier; those 1000+ generators require a veritable army of contractors to keep them fueled and maintained. Working closely with the contractors and Soldiers from the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), the members of the Savannah PRT provide project leadership and guidance to help ensure Puerto Ricans can successfully recover and move forward after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in September 2017.