Lack of money, obsolete network and hurricane make electricity difficult in P.Rico
San Juan, Feb. 18 (EFE) .- Puerto Rico’s state power company will decrease its generation due to lack of money, just when the island began to recover after the destructive attack of Hurricane Maria, which ended almost five months ago. to demolish its already old-fashioned network.
As announced in a statement on Friday the Electric Power Authority (AEE) as of this Sunday will begin the reduction of generation in certain units of the network although the measures “should not interrupt the current electricity service, but may have a impact on your stability. “
This Sunday, the director of generation of the AEE, William Rivers, explained that the contingency plan for economy will be based on shutting down redundancies (power reserve) in some plants, without affecting the service to customers.
On Thursday, in New York, Judge Laura Taylor, who is in charge of the bankruptcy proceedings of the island, denied a request for PREPA to obtain a loan of 1,000 million dollars that was intended to maintain the operations of the public corporation, while it continues with the restoration of electricity service in Puerto Rico after the hurricane.
Now PREPA is waiting to be granted a new one, but 300 million.
Taylor’s decision will be announced next Tuesday.
The situation of PREPA is pressing with a million dollar debt of 9,000 million dollars and a network that is in the process of getting up after the hurricane that knocked down an already obsolete network.
At the same time, it is waiting for 4.9 billion dollars approved by the federal Congress for loans for community disasters, which the PREPA and the island government have urged the US Treasury Department and the Federal Agency of Management of Emergencies (FEMA, in English) to make it viable.
In fact, the governor of the island, Ricardo Rosselló, has deposited in the Treasury the responsibility of whether the electricity system falls due to lack of financing.
“This happened in October, we are in talks with the Treasury and they have not yet given us what the terms are, the Treasury has to move because this is an urgent situation,” Rosselló said at a press conference in Philadelphia (EE. .UU) last week.
The AEE, which has a multi-million dollar debt of about 9,000 million dollars, reported today that it has 4,678 workers in the distribution lines and 850 in the transmission lines.
Generation is 93.9 percent and 83.09 percent of the 1,223,901) clients already have service.
But in spite of the official figures the reality is different in many places of the island, including the capital itself, San Juan, where there are still areas without light and a good part of the traffic lights do not work and in many houses the energy goes away frequently. .
They also highlight villages, many of the interior of the island, where, two days after the end of five months the passage of the hurricane, there is still no light and portable ice coolers with ice and electric fireplaces are their new reality since September 20, 2017 .
One of these cases, highlighted by the famous Spanish chef José Andrés in his official account of the social network Twitter, is that of Punta Santiago, a neighborhood in the eastern municipality of Humacao.
Five months after the hurricane said area remains without light and their schools close at 11.30 in the morning as they can not feed them due to lack of energy, as José Andrés has recalled.
The electrical problem on the island is one of the heels of Achilles of their governments.
In September 2016, the island was left in the dark for four days due to a fire at a substation, which highlighted its weakness.
For the current Government, while the immediate problem of the lack of financing of the company is solved, the light at the end of the tunnel goes through the sale of PREPA assets.
The governor announced on October 22 that this is an initiative that will benefit all segments of society and that will be a starting point for the development of the economy of Puerto Rico.
The chief executive stressed that privatization will mean ending “the obsolete current electrical system” and a leap towards the modernization of Puerto Rico.