Blackouts Create An ‘Unsustainable Situation’ for Hospitals
Hospital Association’s Plá Says Bedridden Patients at Risk
SAN JUAN — The executive president of the Puerto Rico Hospital Association, Jaime Plá Cortés, said the series of recent blackouts on the island have created an “unsustainable situation” that jeopardizes the stability of bedridden patients who require ventilators and other electrical equipment.
Plá said the power outages add to difficulties that hospitals have been facing in their efforts to communicate with LUMA Energy, the concessionaire that took control of the public power utility’s transmission and distribution system on June 1.
“The situation that is being created by the state of [electric power reliability] in the health [industry] is enormous: the constant blackouts for prolonged periods, the inability of the communication process with LUMA to find solutions, and to know when the situation will be resolved. The two most critical areas are our bedridden patients, who depend on electricity to survive, and our hospitals and health facilities, which treat patients constantly,” Plá stressed.
In pleading with the government to handle the emergency, the trade group emphasizes that the power failures damage expensive equipment, increase the cost of providing services and put people’s lives at risk.
LUMA has been scrambling to restore and stabilize the service after an explosion at the Monacillos power substation disrupted the electric service of some 900,000 utility customers. Subsequently, the company has been dealing with constant blackouts after other problems it faced at complexes in Guayanilla, Mayagüez, and San Juan, leaving more than 330,000 customers without power.