LUMA Energy alleges that there will be a “dramatic” increase in electricity subscribers in two days

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Although it did not offer specific amounts, the consortium LUMA Energy assured that in the next two days there will be “a dramatic increase” in the number of subscribers with electricity service after the passage of hurricane fiona last Monday by Puerto Rico.

At a press conference, the LUMA spokesman, engineer Daniel Hernández, indicated that from Thursday to Friday there was an increase of 120,000 clients, although he emphasized that they are still giving priority to what he called “critical loads.”which refers to bringing energy to essential service facilities, such as hospitals and the factories that supply what is necessary to care for patients.

He also reported that this priority included the port of Yabucoa, whose disconnection affected the supply of diesel to the country, as well as other generators that need energy to turn on their plants and the stations of the Water and sewage Authority (AAA).

LUMA reported that as of this morning there were still 59% of customers without the service, which represents almost 800,000 subscribers still disconnected.

Meanwhile, 81% of the 38-kilowatt (kV) lines, 35% of the 230-kV lines and 42% of the 115-kV lines remained to be energized this morning.

Map of electric power transmission lines.  The ones in blue are the ones that are still out of service.
Map of electric power transmission lines. The ones in blue are the ones that are still out of service. (Alex Figueroa Cancel)

Hernández pointed out that after making the lines available, between night and early morning they were able to start receiving generation from the plant. AES Y Ecoelectric.

For his part, the executive director of the Electric Power Authority (ESA), Joshua Columbusindicated that today they added the generation of Costa Sur, with which they hoped to reach 50% of customers.

According to Hernández, despite the increase in energy available until this morning, only 120,000 customers were reconnected because the “critical loads” require a lot of generation.

“Once we finish with these ‘critical loads,’ we are going to enter the residential and commercial area,” said Hernández.

“My expectation is that in the next two days we will have a dramatic change in the condition of the system,” added the engineer., without wanting to go into specific estimates of subscribers to which he was referring. He limited himself to indicating that there will be “thousands” of clients who will receive the service.

He pointed out that even today there were 129 “critical load” substations that are available to be switched on, but that they had to wait to be energized to know if they suffered any damage not detectable by the naked eye.

Meanwhile, Hernández maintained that LUMA Energy does not need more employees than it currently has.

He indicated that they cannot skip phases of the areas to be energized and assured that they currently have the “necessary” resources for each stage.

“Not by entering thousands of additional employees we are going to advance more. That’s part of the plan,” Hernandez said.

In that sense, he ruled out that there is currently a need to hire additional personnel, including the offer of former PREPA employees who were distributed to other government agencies.

Regarding the so-called “pockets” that depend on connecting some “machete”, he said that doing so means skipping the connection steps per phase, as it would add more load and, first, they need to verify that the lines do not have any damage that is not visible to the naked eye. .

During the press conference he was evasive when asking for a reaction to the proposals of the mayors of Bayamón and Guaynabo.

Eduardo O’Neill, mayor of Guaynabo and former employee with almost 30 years of experience with PREPA, and later with the privatization company, thundered this Friday against the “bad performance of LUMA” Energy. “And, even worse, the attitude of arrogance and intransigence of some of the executives, who lack empathy with the people,” he denounced.

Meanwhile, since yesterday, the mayor of Bayamo, Ramón Luis Rivera, stated that he would give LUMA until Saturday to improve the situation or hire brigades to carry out work with downed poles and lay new cables without touching live lines. In addition, he denounced that LUMA had cut off his communication channels.

For his part, Hernández said he respected O’Neill’s expressions. After indicating that he “does not urge” that any work be done with the electrical infrastructure without first consulting with LUMA, Hernández assured that he does not “record any attempt” of communication by Rivera with the company.

At the press conference, the Secretary of State, Omar Marrerosaid he was going to investigate Rivera’s allegation, who announced this morning that he would begin replacing fallen poles.

On the other hand, the president of the AAA, Doriel Paganindicated that from Thursday to Friday, the number of subscribers with the drinking water service increased by 5%.

He noted that it increased from 890,000 subscribers (67%) to 956,000 clients (72%).

“Today we are focused on the facilities with the most damage,” said Pagán, who explained that among the “municipalities with the greatest interest for today” are Comerío, Las Piedras and Lares, among others.

According to the official, it currently had 560 generators operating in plants that did not have electricity service.

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