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Governor Pedro Pierluisi insisted that his expectation is that “a large part” of the country will have electricity before the end of today, but he pointed out that his demand to the Electric Power Authority and LUMA Energy excludes the southern municipalities that suffered the greatest damage as a result of the onslaught of Hurricane Fiona.
“Particularly in the south of Puerto Rico there is significant damage to the power grid. In those towns it will take time. What I said yesterday, and I reiterate, is that I want a large part of the subscribers throughout the island to have their service today,” the president said at a press conference.
The governor said that the increase in subscribers with service that has been registered since yesterday has been “significant”, but that “I am not satisfied”.
“I want that to continue to increase,” Pierluisi said.
Last night, approximately 20% of customers had their electricity service restored, while today, according to an update by LUMA Energy, there were 394,639 consumers energized, which represents just under 27% of subscribers.
Pierluisi, on the other hand, denied that LUMA had withdrawn from the commitment to energize the country in a few days. Today, in a radio interview (1320 AM), LUMA’s Security Manager, Ábner Gómez, said that it would be irresponsible to guarantee that 75% of the network’s clients would receive the service on or before the weekend, while He acknowledged that the repairs in the most affected areas will last until at least October.
“They did not want to create the expectation that in all the towns of Puerto Rico a large part of the subscribers would have service,” said the chief executive.
Likewise, Pierluisi affirmed that it is necessary to avoid major damage to the generating units as a result of hasty energization.
“We don’t want to be turning on generating units and connecting lightly and then have severe damage to those generating units because the network cannot withstand the load,” Pierluisi said.
The director of Renewable Energy Projects at LUMA, Daniel Hernández, pointed out at the press conference that the key to substantially increasing the number of subscribers with service will be connecting, through transmission lines, the six main plants of the system: Palo Seco, Central San Juan, Aguirre, EcoEléctrica, Costa Sur and AES.
At present, for example, the 230-volt lines that leave from Costa Sur and run to Arecibo and Manatí, respectively, are not in service, explained the former PREPA Director of Generation.
“I have great expectations that if we manage to close the ‘loop’ (circuit) of the transmission lines in the eastern area, a large part of the clients in that area will be able to connect, at least to the substations that are good, as well as hospitals . We still have several hospitals that we have to attend to, as well as several critical infrastructures. We cannot accelerate too much because we are going to expose the system to a collapse, which has happened before,” Hernández warned.
The LUMA official could not specify how many hospital institutions have service at the moment, but estimated that the number fluctuates between 40 and 60. In Puerto Rico there are around 68 hospitals.
Hernández also pointed out that among the problems identified by the consortium are three substations – in Dorado, Hormigueros and Aguadilla – that are still under water due to the floods caused by Hurricane Fiona. The system has about 400 substations, Hernández said.
Gómez, for his part, emphasized that when referring to the “large part” of Puerto Rico that should be energized in the short term, he was referring to the “northern half” of the country, a region where 60% of the electricity’s customers are located. net, estimated.
“The governor has been emphatic with us in energizing Puerto Rico as soon as possible. He, in his role as our governor, is doing the same. We are here supporting all efforts and we are working as a team. We want to exceed expectations but we have to be responsible because, as we have said, if we try to get ahead of ourselves in the process, we can cause damage to the generation process,” said Gómez.
The executive director of PREPA, Josué Colón, said that yesterday, Tuesday, was a day of “great challenges”. For example, he mentioned that PREPA had problems with unit 9 in San Juan and that peaking units at the Mayagüez and Cambalache plants, which were operating in isolation, faced breakdowns when trying to unite the systems due to the explosion of a lightning rod. on the 38,000 volt transmission line.
At dawn “the issues with the lines and the units were dealt with and, since the units had already left and we had connectivity with the metropolitan area, because the line that leaves Bayamón to Manatí was put into service last night, the units proceeded to enter but already synchronized to the electrical system of San Juan, with the units of Palo Seco and (the Central) San Juan. The system is already united, Mayagüez, Cambalache, San Juan, Palo Seco and Aguirre”, said Colón.