[Many thanks to Michael O’Neal for bringing this item to our attention.] The full title of the article is “Over 500 Stateside Linemen Will be Working with WAPA as Race to Light Up 90% of USVI by Christmas Begins” (The Virgin Islands Consortium):
Governor Kenneth Mapp said on Friday evening that more than 500 linemen from across the U.S. will soon be in the territory to help the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority meet its goal of restoring power to 90 percent of the USVI by Christmas.
Mr. Mapp, speaking during his press briefing held at Government House on St. Croix, said 60 linemen arrived on St. Thomas on Friday, 100 were set to arrive on St. Croix today, and an additional 50 would make their way to St. Thomas on Sunday. On the 17th and 22nd of October, 20 and 25 more respectively, are on schedule to arrive. And between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, 250 more linemen will be in the USVI, bringing the total to well over 500.
The governor said new types of poles will be used; equipment that can dig through rocks will be utilized and holes will be dug deeper to make for a more resilient power system.
Yet even with all these reinforcement measures, the administration is moving forward with plans to place the territory’s power distribution system — particularly in the USVI’s primary and secondary areas — underground. The governor said Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who is in charge of rebuilding Puerto Rico’s power distribution system, will assess that of the USVI — including the territory’s generation system. “It means we’re going to work towards a more resilient production and distribution of power,” the governor stated.
Mr. Mapp included funding in his $5.5 billion request from Congress to place the territory’s power distribution system underground. Whether the funds will be provided remains to be seen. [. . .]