The lack of unhooking was one of the causes of the blackout that affected 250,000 LUMA Energy customers yesterday

The blackout that affected some 250,000 LUMA Energy customers yesterday, Wednesday, was the result of a missing disconnect and a broken connector on a 50700 transmission linerevealed this morning the director of operations of the consortium LUMA Energy, Gary Soto.

In addition, the official anticipated The new day that they do not rule out more “imbalances in the system” or blackouts in the coming days, largely because transmission line 50200 (which also went out of service yesterday) faces “deficiencies” that they have not yet been able to identify. This line has gone out of service three times in less than a week.

To understand the panorama, it is worth noting that There were four breakdowns that LUMA Energy faced yesterday and that, in some way, all resulted in the loss of electricity service for its customers. The first, second, and third events occurred on 230,000-volt (kv) transmission lines, while the fourth occurred at a substation.

What caused the massive blackout in the morning were the first two faults, both on transmission line 50700, but on separate sections.

Soto explained that the section of line 50700 that runs between the private cogenerator AES Puerto Rico, in Guayama, with Yabucoa went out of service at around 11:08 am. Two minutes later, the second section of the same line, but which connects AES with Aguirre, in Salinas, also went out of service, which caused the AES plant to shut down – for self-protection – and, immediately, 25% of electricity generation on the island was lost.

An hour later line 50200 was shot (it went out of service after an electrical overload) and that, according to the engineer, caused an “imbalance” of the country’s electrical network. Meanwhile, the last one occurred at night in the Fajardo electrical substationwhere the Fire Department had to extinguish a fire.

“The three lines, plus some additional conditions that arose in the event, were taken care of and are all in service,” Soto assured by telephone.

“In the case of the 50700 that goes to Yabucoa, there they worked with a release that had been seen in a previous patrol, but had not been taken care of. It was treated yesterday. On the other line 50700 that goes to Aguirre, a connector was serviced that broke at the entrance to Aguirre. On line 50200, that line we have not been able to identify what is taking it out of service. They are not disengagements, the disengagements in that line are up to date, but there is a condition that we understand requires a greater and more thorough evaluation,” the official explained.

The maintenance work on the lines due to vegetation was not, until yesterday, as “aggressive” as it will be, according to Soto, from today after realizing that the blackout could have been avoided if the required disconnection of transmission line #50700 had been made as soon as it was identified during a patrol.

“I can tell you that after yesterday’s event, well, the maintenance and vegetation program is going to be reinforced and it is going to be treated more aggressively to avoid this situation again.“, he claimed.

They were warned that it could happen

Through a letter addressed to the CEO of LUMA Energy, Wayne Stensbythe director of the Electric Power Authority (ESA), Joshua Columbuswarned that several power grid transmission lines were exposed to vegetation, requiring removal and maintenance.

The communication, in the possession of this medium, was signed on August 1st and was framed in the fact that as of August the peak of the demand for electricity generation on the island began, for which reason the unhooking work was necessary to avoid any complications in the infrastructure that would lead to a blackout.

Josué Colón warns Wayne Stensby of vegetation on transmission lines by El Nuevo Día on Scribd

However, a special operation was not immediately organized to complete these tasks.

Soto confirmed to this newspaper that two of the five events that have impacted transmission lines in the past week were caused by vegetation.

At the mercy of line 50200

The engineer assured that both ground and helicopter patrol brigades will go out today to check the 50200 line with the intention of identifying what is causing it to go out of service.

As that happens, hinted that it is possible that “deficiencies” (blackouts) will be recorded in the electrical system, because this transmission line is the one that connects the generation produced in Costa Sur with the demand in the north, specifically, with the substation in Manatí .

“My experience tells me that, possibly, it is an insulator that is crossed, but that usually gives a lot of work to be able to identify it. For technical purposes, that line (50200) is still going to be extensively patrolled today and in the area that the protection is telling us is being affected to find that detail and get that deficiency out of the way,” Soto guaranteed.

As to whether the message behind his assertions is that the transmission line could go out of service at any time, he replied as follows: “Note that these are uncontrolled events. In other words, we would be waiting for that to happen. That is why today we are going to attend to that as a priority.”

“From our point of view, operationally, we know that this line could (stop) operating for no reason right now. For this reason, I reiterate, it will be attended today as a priority to be able to elucidate what the service line is taking out “plot.

Although he did not answer precisely if they have an alternative plan to implement in case the line goes out of service, he said that they will stop serving the remaining 230,000 and 115,000 volt lines while they attend to the emergency at 50200.

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