FEMA Authorizes Replacement of 1.5 Million Luma Smart Meters in Puerto Rico damaged by Hurricane María

Replacement of 1.5 Million Luma Smart Meters in Puerto Rico Approved by FEMA (Image: Elvocero)
Replacement of 1.5 Million Luma Smart Meters in Puerto Rico Approved by FEMA (Image: Elvocero)

FEMA Funding Accelerates Smart Meter Replacement

Puerto Rico’s power company, Luma, is getting new smart meters to replace the 1.5 million meters messed up by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The plan, announced in September, just got the green light. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is giving over $786 million to speed up the process.

These new meters, part of a bigger plan, should make the electricity system work better. They’ll also help the company and customers keep an eye on things, especially during bad weather. This is all about making sure everything is secure and working right.

The new meters by Luma will bring some extra perks too. They should make it quicker to fix problems and bring back power after issues. There’s also hope for new energy-saving ideas, better efficiency, and more accurate billing for customers. So, it’s not just fixing what got broken, but making things better overall.

Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, the head of Puerto Rico’s Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience (COR3), sees the new smart meters as a big deal for the island’s residents. He believes they’ll bring better electricity service by making readings clear and improving safety during bad weather. Rivera points out that these are things people in Puerto Rico have wanted for a long time, and now, thanks to FEMA’s funds, they’re making it happen.

The smart meter rollout is set to begin in the summer of 2024 and will last for three years.

Luma’s Comprehensive Plan: ‘Building a Better Energy Future’

This move is part of Luma’s larger plan called ‘Building a better energy future,’ which started in September. The focus is on making the power system more reliable and improving customer support services.

In addition to the smart meters, there’s another update. Luma is introducing a text messaging service to keep customers in the loop. They’ll get updates on service outages, bill-related requests, and progress on the ‘Building a better energy future’ initiative.

Luma has been making other changes too. They’ve installed more than 1,200 automated devices on the network, and there are plans for over 5,000 devices by July 2024. They’ve also fixed and replaced over 1,000 poles around the island to make the system stronger. The goal is to renovate 100,000 light poles in the next five years.

The company has started rebuilding three substations to make the service more reliable. Their bigger plan is to upgrade 50 existing substations and build six new ones in the next two years.

Luma hasn’t stopped there. They’ve cleared vegetation from over 300km of transmission and distribution lines across 59 municipalities. The target is to clear 26,000km over the next three years.

In October, Luma kicked off the Customer Battery Power Sharing Initiative. It’s an emergency response program to make service more reliable across Puerto Rico. So far, five service providers have joined, and over 1,700 customers have signed up.

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Source(s): Smart Energy

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