“There is a pattern of blaming LUMA”: Wayne Stensby responds to accusations against the operations of the consortium

In response to the accusations about the deficient operations of the consortium that he directs and the general frustration that dominates the population due to the constant blackouts since it has been operating in Puerto Rico, the president and CEO of LUMA Energy, Wayne Stensbyclaimed this afternoon that “there is a pattern of blaming LUMA”.

During a press conference in which most of the answers and data were given in English, The executive minimized the five breakdowns that have occurred in less than a week and that have left hundreds of thousands of subscribers without energy service and insisted that everything is the result of the complexity and fragility of the electrical network.

Stensby even argued, before the expression of dissatisfaction that the governor expressed this morning Peter Pierluisi, that the company does not work “justifying itself”, but considering the fragility of the electrical system. This last approach is the argument used by the consortium every time a service interruption occurs.

“We know blackouts are frustrating and yesterday’s are no different. We recognize that there are significant challenges that must be addressed in Puerto Rico and that is why we are here. Deficiencies are not repaired in a year. It is a system, an interconnected system. It’s not an excuse, it’s the simple truth,” Stensby said.

There is a pattern where Prepa (Electric Power Authority) and others do not recognize the past and take the opportunity to blame LUMA in the press. If I have a request for Prepa, and others, it is time to work together. Let’s be honest about the limitations we face and we will continue working to address them,” he added.

Far from saying what caused the breakdowns of the past few days, the official, who was accompanied by three other directors of the company, Stensby limited himself to responding to the public inspection that LUMA Energy has received since he took office on June 1, 2021, the operations of the transmission and distribution system of the electricity grid.

“When an event like this (blackout affecting 250,000 consortium customers) happens, it’s easy to forget the progress we make every day to repair the system,” he exclaimed.

For her part, the senior vice president of engineering at LUMA Energy, Shay Bahramiradhe said to questions from The new day that their statistics suggest that they have reduced blackouts by 30% since they began working on the island and by 19% the events of explosions and breakdowns in electrical power substations.

“It is the basic reality: the system is the system and our clients understand that the system has faced years and decades of neglect. This requires generation, transmission and distribution and requires substantial reform and reconstruction. We know that (the reconstruction) cannot happen overnight, neither in months nor in years. We have made substantial progress and we celebrate it.”

Regarding the letter sent to him by the director of the Electric Power Authority (ESA), Joshua Columbusin which he warned that several transmission lines of the electrical network were exposed to vegetation, for which they required disconnection and maintenance, the executive stated that they answered the communication the same day and used helicopter patrols to check the lines.

However, the director of operations of the consortium, Gary Soto, acknowledged -in an interview with this newspaper- that one of the breakdowns that occurred yesterday was due to a lack of vegetation removal. He also said that they had identified that need to disengage, but they did not.

“The problem is the (electrical) system”Stensby reiterated.

The press conference concluded without it being known exactly what factors have led to the constant breakdowns in both substations and transmission and distribution lines.

The directive of LUMA Energy also did not say whether it will collaborate with the process that the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau began yesterday to investigate the outage of three transmission lines – all 230,000 volts..

“The Energy Bureau was created to ensure that the energy policy established by the people of Puerto Rico through their elected representatives is effectively implemented, with transparency, and always safeguarding the public interest. Thus, the Energy Bureau, in discharging its supervisory duties and functions, understands it is prudent, reasonable and in the public interest to initiate an investigation into the causes of today’s (yesterday’s) incident and the investigative or corrective actions taken by LUMA and the (Electric Power) Authority in relation to it,” said yesterday the president of the regulatory entity, Edison Aviles Delizin written statements.

In the evening hours, the federal representative Nydia Velazuez He spoke about the performance of the entity since it assumed the management of the transmission and distribution of the country’s electrical system.

“LUMA has had too many opportunities to do the right thing. The people of Puerto Rico are suffering, and the Fiscal Oversight Board must stop defending this failed privatization. Enough @lumaenergypr”he wrote on his Twitter account.

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