Puerto Rico mayors demand answers from governor on power authority
SAN JUAN — The president of the Puerto Rico Mayors Association and mayor of Cayey, Rolando Ortiz, lashed out against the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, demanding clear answers on how municipalities can participate in the island’s energy service restoration process.
The declarations, from the spokesperson of the organization, which groups mayors affiliated with the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), were issued during a press conference held from the entity’s headquarters in Puerta de Tierra, and emerge in the same week that the Electric Power Authority (Prepa) indicated it would not permit municipalities to assist with energy restoration because of security concerns.
“We understand that this is a claim that seeks to raise awareness with the governor, who is the one who must make the decision to reveal the country’s energization plan, to know when and how [one’s] town will be energized,” Ortiz said.
“There are dozens of mayors who have created brigades, mainly composed of Prepa retirees, who are available to collaborate with the electric system restoration, in relation to distribution lines. Mayors want to be a part of the solution,” he added.
Meanwhile, Caguas Mayor William Mirando (PDP) questioned why the island re-energization plan has not been made public and assured that Prepa’s restoration efforts are incongruent with the priorities established by authorities after the Sept. 20 devastation left by Hurricane Maria.
“My demand to Prepa is to coherently identify what the priorities are and to assign the resources,” Miranda said, pointing to a map of the hurricane’s trajectory and how the authorities have not prioritized the municipalities since the storm entered and exited the island, the points where most of the damage occurred.
“The one who directs the orchestra, who is the governor, I have to say he has failed to direct that orchestra, and we Puerto Ricans brought it upon ourselves for electing a person without experience,” the mayor lambasted.
Other mayors at the meeting denounced alleged discrimination toward municipalities that are not affiliated with the New Progressive Party (NPP).
They added that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has acknowledged there is a master plan that outlines Prepa’s procedures to restore the system; however, that plan is up to Prepa and not USACE to reveal.
Moreover, the Mayors Association announced its support of and participation in a demonstration–11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 15, in front of La Fortaleza–in support of residents of Morovis who are demanding the governor present Prepa’s plans to restore electric service across the island.
Ortiz extended an invitation to his counterpart in the Mayors Federation, which groups mayors from the NPP, Carlos Molina, to join the demonstration.
The Cayey mayor emphasized the island’s socioeconomic stagnation from Prepa’s delays in restoring energy service..