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Post-tsunami recovery supported by FEMA underway

By Samoa News Staff PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Nov. 28, 2009) - Part of a three-tiered power restoration plan for American Samoa following the Sept. 29 disaster was implemented yesterday when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) "threw the switch" at the Satala power plant.

Yesterday morning ASPA shutdown power in certain parts of Fagatogo, the Bay area and other villages, and in the afternoon the rest of the Eastern District, to enable the ASPA crew to perform electrical work at the Satala plant for the transition of the ASPA system from the FEMA generators to the Aggreko units that arrived on island more than a week ago.

Tier II of the plan included the delivery, installation and activation of 27 Aggreko one-megawatt generators. Eighteen are located at the Satala Power Plant with the remaining nine at the Tafuna plant.

Yesterday afternoon, FEMA and ASPA announced jointly that it "threw the switch" at the Satala power plant activating 18 one-megawatt generators.

Tier II will be fully implemented once all 27 generators are activated, at which time the FEMA generators installed as part of Tier I will be shipped back to the mainland in the coming weeks. The Aggreko generators will remain in place for 18-24 months.

The Sept. 29 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent flooding severely damaged the Satala Power Plant and the loss left Tutuila with insufficient electrical generation for approximately 50% of its customer base.

As a result, ASPA was forced to run its Tafuna Power Plant at full capacity, which under normal operating conditions, runs at about 80 percent capacity to cover surge power demands. The additional demand on the Tafuna plant significantly increased the chances of a total system failure; prompting FEMA and ASPA to develop the three-tier power restoration plan.

Tier I of the power restoration plan involved air lifting 56 FEMA generators via military aircraft to meet immediate power needs. Small- to- medium sized generators were installed throughout the island to provide critical power to schools, government and community agencies, sewage stations and water wells.

"The Tier I generators gave us the quick fix we needed to guarantee emergency power for American Samoa," said FEMA’s acting Federal Coordinating Officer, Michael H. Smith. "Tier II provides us larger generators for sustainable power production, as ASPA develops its final Tier III power solution."

Tier III of the power restoration plan for American Samoa will involve determining if the Satala Power plant can be repaired or will it need to be replaced. FEMA previously announced that the U.S. Department of Energy is providing assistance to ASPA in the planning of the Satala Plant replacement.

ASPA will be reimbursed by FEMA for at least 75 percent of the cost under FEMA’s Public Assistance program, according to FEMA local officials.

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