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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Granholm on Hurricane Fiona: "Here's what you need to know"

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U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm confirmed the presence of response personnel in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to assess the damage done to both territories' energy sectors during and after the passing of Hurricane Fiona.

Granholm reported on their presence in a Twitter post on Sept. 19. The DOE's Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response announced situation reports on the Category 1 hurricane, which hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 18.

"@ENERGY has released the first Hurricane #Fiona public situation report for information on outages, impacts to the electricity, oil and natural gas sectors, and restoration efforts," DOE CESER said in a Twitter post on Sept. 19. "Access the report to stay up to date with the recovery efforts."

The DOE's Energy Response Organization was activated, and Emergency Support function responders were deployed to the FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to CESER reports. Responders were also deployed to the FEMA Region II Response Coordination Center in New Jersey.

"We have new updates from @DOE_CESER on the impacts of Hurricane #Fiona and what's happening on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here's what you need to know," Granholm wrote at the beginning of a Twitter thread published Sept. 19.

"First, I want to be clear that this is an extremely dynamic situation with numbers and factors constantly changing," Granholm continued. "The information captured here is a snapshot of where things stood at different times today, as captured in @DOE_CESER's Situational Report.

"DOE response personnel have been activated and are on the ground in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to assess the disaster’s impacts to the energy sector, restore energy systems to full capacity and identify any unmet needs that may require federal support or coordination," Granholm added.

"As of 2 PM ET today, 93% of customers in Puerto Rico are without power. Since the island-wide power outage began yesterday afternoon, approximately 108,000 customers have had their power restored.1.37 million are still experiencing outages," she said.

"Since our snapshot, Puerto Rico’s transmission and distribution operator has reported additional restorations of power," the secretary continued.

"As of 10:30 AM ET today, 10% of customers (5,500) in the U.S. Virgin Islands are without power. That's down from a storm peak of 14,000 outages. We should expect to see fluctuations in these numbers as part of large-scale restoration efforts across the region," Granholm reported.

"As conditions permit, damage assessments and restoration efforts are expected to get underway today. Due to the magnitude of the outage + ongoing impacts of #Fiona, the local transmission/distribution operator estimates full power restoration will take at least several days," she continued.

"That's all for now. @ENERGY will continue to monitor the situation and will work closely with partners on the ground to get electrical services back as quickly as possible. Follow @DOE_CESER, @FEMA, @FEMAespanol, @femaregion2, [and] @NWSSanJuan for more. Please stay safe," Granholm concluded.

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