NPCA Staff Report
Puerto Rico’s infrastructure has taken a toll in the past six years.
The U.S. territory was devastated in 2017 when Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, made landfall, causing catastrophic damage to the territory. In all, 37.9 inches of rain fell on parts of the island, with water levels reaching as high as 15 feet.
The entire power grid was destroyed, and 95% of cell networks went down. Nearly 3,000 residents died, and the effects were felt for nearly two years as 45% remained without power and 14% had no clean drinking water.
Hurricanes and tropical storms that followed slowed recovery but now the home to 3.2 million U.S. citizens is getting a complete overhaul of its electric grid thanks to federal funding, local government initiatives and NPCA member Power Precast Products.
Power Precast is producing 7,000 precast concrete light poles and 9,000 electrical poles annually for the ongoing job.
Here is an English translation of the article.
Concrete Poles Made By Puerto Rican Hands To Rebuild The Country
The Puerto Rican company Power Precast manufactures from scratch a variety of concrete products for the island’s infrastructure, mainly its electrical system.
By Francisco Javier Soler and Brandon Cruz González (Wapa.tv)
The Puerto Rican company Power Precast manufactures poles and a variety of concrete products for the island’s infrastructure at its facilities in Río Grande.
There are about 100 employees, Puerto Rican hands, who work on these important products for the reconstruction of the country.
The purely Puerto Rican company began operations in 1966 and is today the main manufacturer of concrete products for infrastructure in Puerto Rico. Power Precast is a family business that was founded by engineers Adriel Longo and Juan Bermúdez, seeking to improve the electrical infrastructure of Puerto Rico, and currently the factory is run by Alejandro Longo, Adriel’s son. Power Precast was a pioneer and began to manufacture concrete poles for lighting, achieving a more resistant and durable product, proudly made in Puerto Rico.
Currently, when a renewal of the island’s electrical energy system is on the table, the plant has the capacity to produce 7,000 lighting poles and 9,000 poles for the electrical distribution system annually. Concrete poles cost a fraction of the cost of an equivalent pole when fabricated from steel with equivalent strength, so it is ideal to utilize the use of the concrete pole to maximize redevelopment funds for the electrical system.
Power Precast products meet the highest quality standards, and the plant is certified annually by the National Precast Concrete Association, an association that regulates and certifies compliance with quality processes for precast concrete plants. Power Precast also invests in and updates its products with code and specification changes to stay ahead of the curve and provide resilient products of excellence. These certifications are performed by a third-party structural firm with over 50 years of structural service experience.
The factory also is an integral part of the community in which it is located, in the municipality of Río Grande, and maintains an active workforce of 100 employees, thus benefiting 100 families, mostly residents of the municipalities in the eastern zone of Puerto Rico. The approximate annual payroll is $3.2 million, making the company a generator of economic activity in its immediate community, as well as in the entire eastern zone of Puerto Rico.
For Puerto Rico, mainly due to its insular condition, it is vital that the factories that produce locally what is necessary to sustain a healthy and functional infrastructure remain active. With this production, the import of products of this nature is minimized, particularly in the face of natural disasters and other emergencies.
An example of this was the impact of Hurricane María, when it became very difficult to import poles for several months that would allow the electrical network to be erected. It was thanks to factories like Power Precast that thousands of poles could be manufactured that immediately helped to begin to restore the electrical system. Following this event, Power Precast has been updating their pole designs to increase their capabilities.
On Oct. 13, the company won the Manufacturing Company of the Year award during the summit event of the Minority Entrepreneur Week, MEDWEEK, presented by the Minority Business Development Agency of Puerto Rico (MBDAPR), the organization that manages the Association Made In Puerto Rico.