James J. Peters VA Medical Center (Bronx, N.Y.), the oldest VA facility in New York City, needed to upgrade its electrical distribution system to maintain its accreditation and remain open. The project included replacing up to 400 circuit breaker panels and installing five back-up generators, and required the electricity to be turned off for different parts of the hospital for long periods of time.

However, a plan for temporary power wasn’t factored into the VA’s project, and when the general contractor was asked about supplying backup power, the bid came in at more than $1.5 million.

Looking for alternatives, the VA turned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), a versatile power generation battalion that provides commercial-level power to military units and federal relief organizations around the world. For example, the battalion played a role in the Corps’ response mission following Hurricane Sandy, providing temporary emergency power to critical facilities in New York and New Jersey, including hospitals and police stations.

Here, the team brought in its generators to provide temporary power so the general contractor could swap out the breakers. The project was completed across five weekends during fall 2013, with services coming in at a cost of $175,000 plus $60,000 to transport equipment. “They came in with all of their men, equipment, and generators and worked around the clock,” Anthony DelVecchio, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, said in a release. “They are all about the mission.”