Washington, DC- U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Jenniffer González-Colón (PR), and Darren Soto (FL-09) sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell with concerns about FEMA’s current plans to remove the temporary power generation units in Puerto Rico.
FEMA initially indicated its intention to provide 700MW of dispatchable energy within two months for two years and that the USACE has the commensurate contracting authority to provide it. Yet, one year later, only 350MW of power have been delivered – Palo Seco Plant in June 2023 and the San Juan Plant, September 2023 – and FEMA has plans for complete demobilization by March 15, 2024.
If power generators are removed too soon, thousands of families and businesses could potentially experience more power outages and have less access to electricity, and the system will not be as resilient going into a new hurricane season.
“I feel strongly that FEMA has a humanitarian obligation to keep those temporary generators in place until Puerto Rico has enough permanent power generation to replace them,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “Removing temporary generators without a permanent replacement would constitute an act of cruelty against the people of Puerto Rico.”
“Given the unfortunate delays in rebuilding the electric grid in Puerto Rico, at this time, we can’t afford to take a step back that will only hurt the people I represent,” said Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (PR). “The scheduled termination of use of the temporary power generation units on the Island would do just that. Therefore, we request that FEMA extend its support until the federal resources we secured in Congress, allocated for more permanent solutions, are being fully utilized. The people of Puerto Rico, who bear the brunt of these challenges, deserve nothing less.”
“We are deeply grateful for FEMA’s work to help support Puerto Rico’s electric infrastructure, said Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09). “As we continue our collaborations, it is critical for them to continue running power generation units on the Island. The removal of power generators would hurt innocent families and businesses that rely on these resources for electricity. In the long term, we must continue to utilize federal funds already allocated to improve cleaner energy generation capacity and a resilient grid.”
In the letter, the Representatives ask Director Criswell several questions on the urgency to remove the power generators and the plan to ensure the stability of the electric grid in Puerto Rico.