LUMA Scrambles to Deal with Blackouts
The storm had yet to pass close to Puerto Rico, and Luma Energy, the private company that took control of critical components of the island’s power grid last June through a highly controversial contract, warned about electrical disruptions due to the “still very fragile” utility.
With the storm still miles away, the company’s Twitter account reported blackouts in the municipality of Río Grande and Florida after deploying, yesterday, brigades to deal with disruptions in Naranjito, Mayaguez, among other municipalities.
Media reports were quick to note the disruptions in several municipalities as the system’s heavier rains poured into the island. According to one story, the total number of residents without power surpassed 7,500 by Tuesday afternoon. In the municipality of Florida alone, the total reached 2,900.
Although the company said through a spokesperson that they were “prepared” to deal with the atmospheric event, the Twitter account warned about the fragility of the utility and how its lack of reliance could endanger the critically ill.
“LUMA encourages customers who rely on electrical power to operate life-saving medical equipment to activate their emergency plans in the event of outages,” the company said in one of its tweets.
Meanwhile, government entities, such as the municipality of San Juan, highlighted their alleged preparedness as the storm’s passing neared the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. However, the Government of Puerto Rico had apparently faltered in opening shelters promptly.
Local authorities had identified around 300 shelters, but the Government could not provide a clear answer on the reason for the delay.