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Senate passes resolution to investigate electric outages in Puerto Rico

By on August 22, 2017

SAN JUAN – In light of the possibility of a general blackout in Puerto Rico, the upper legislative chamber passed Senate Resolution 345 on Monday to order an investigation into the electric power system’s high incidence of outages reported daily and establish a plan to address them.

“Over the years, the infrastructure of the electrical system has faced a series of failures and technical problems, which reflect that the conservation and protection of the electric power system lacks adequate preventive maintenance,” the resolution reads.

The bill, presented by Popular Democratic Party Sen. Aníbal José Torres, orders the Senate Government Commission to present a report within 90 days on the incidences of electric outages around the island and evaluate infrastructure improvement programs.

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In a turn in favor of the resolution, Torres noted that 141,000 customers’ electric service is disrupted monthly and takes more than an hour on average to be restored. Between 2010 and 2017, there was a 402% rise in services disruptions.

“We have filed this resolution with the intention that, once and for all, the country can be assured of what kind of situation is actually happening at the Electric Power Authority [Prepa] to face the crisis that is causing so many blackouts in the country,” the legislator said.

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The resolution also seeks to investigate the actions of the Electric Power Authority to “address the ongoing outages in the system, including those determinations that affect [Prepa’s] governance, both in its administrative and financial structure.”

A week ago, the executive director of the public corporation, Ricardo Ramos Rodríguez, said he has begun working on a strategic plan to reduce disruptions and improve the quality of the service, and assured that the island is not going through an energy crisis.

Prepa’s Aguirre Central plant (pictured) suffered a fire Wednesday, Sept. 21, leaving most of Puerto Rico without electricity. (File photo)

Eye on co-ops

Meanwhile, Senate Resolution 51 was also approved to investigate “the status and efficiency of the Cooperatives Supervision & Insurance Corp. [Cossec by its Spanish acronym]” and determine if it made spending and budget cuts in accordance with the state of fiscal emergency.

“The Senate of Puerto Rico is committed to the development of cooperatives throughout Puerto Rico. Therefore, it is imperative that the status and efficiency of [Cossec] be investigated,” reads the preamble of the measure authored by Sen. Eric Correa Rivera.

During its ninth public meeting in early August, the fiscal control board approved the corporation’s fiscal plan with amendments. It gave the government 30 days to amend the laws that govern Cossec.

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