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“I got tired and we are going to fight hard”: mayor of Aguadilla activates brigades to build electrical infrastructure in his town

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Tired of waiting for LUMA Energy crews to visit his city, the mayor of Aguadilla, Julio Roldan Concepcionbegan this Saturday the process of lifting the power lines that fell after the passage of Hurricane Fiona.

“We got tired, I got tired and we’re going to fight hard… It’s over begging for what touches us,” he said.

With the action, Aguadilla becomes the second municipality to go beyond criticism against the company in charge of the transmission and distribution of energy on the Island. It thus joined Bayamón, which was the first to announce its intention to drive poles and return downed electrical cables to their places in the affected communities.

As explained by the mayor of Aguadilla, yesterday, Friday, they began hiring former employees of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to help them in the mission of energizing their town. Meanwhile, at 8:00 am this Saturday, they made a helicopter tour of the primary and secondary power lines to detect possible damage.

“They are all in excellent condition. There is no excuse why Aguadilla is not fully on”, he stated, noting that only 30% of his city has power six days after Fiona’s passage.

He explained that in the count carried out by the communities affected by the cyclone, some 19 fallen posts have been counted since this morning. He said there may be more, but they are still in the process of identifying them.

“We are going to start lifting them today,” said Roldán Concepción.

Julio Roldán, mayor of Aguadilla.
Julio Roldán, mayor of Aguadilla. (teresa.canino@gfrmedia.com)

The repair of the electrical system, as stated, would begin in the Esteves community, located on the PR-459 highway.

They have also found fallen poles in the Villas Universitarias urbanization, as well as in the Caimital Alto and Caimital Bajo neighborhoods.

“We are making a complete account of what is affected and it will be fixed so that when everything is up and running, they are energized at the same time and there are no excuses,” the mayor said about his plans.

He stressed that the contracted personnel will not intervene with the live lines.

In addition, he said that one of the municipality’s lawyers is negotiating with LUMA Energy to sign a memorandum of understanding similar to the one that Bayamón was going to establish with the company.

“We understand that it should be the same treatment as Bayamón, but I am going to climb the posts anyway. My people come before LUMA or any other people”, she sentenced.

Likewise, Roldán Concepción was unable to detail how much this task would cost the municipality. He explained that “we are in the process of quoting to buy the materials.”

However, he thanked the mayor of San Sebastián, Javier Jiménez, who would donate the first poles to be installed in Aguadilla.

“I have a town without water and without light due to negligence. Right now, there are no excuses for not having 100% light. LUMA has not wanted to accept that they did not have staff and were not ready for this. With a simple storm, look how Puerto Rico is, completely stopped,” said the mayor, expressing annoyance with the situation.

Roldán Concepción also expressed “disappointment” that Aguadilla has not yet been included in the towns declared in major disaster. Such certification would allow Aguadillanos to access aid from the federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On the other hand, the Bayamón press spokeswoman, Migdalia Rivera, reported that the installation of poles and cables in the La Peña community, in the Guaraguao neighborhood, has not yet begun. She indicated that the municipal staff is meeting with LUMA Energy employees “coordinating the logistics” so that the repair work on the power lines can begin.

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