By John McPhaul
Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera Cruz announced on Wednesday the start of the first phase of a project that will provide residents of Bayamón who are bedridden, or require electrical medical assistance equipment, with portable batteries for domestic use with solar technology, so that they have an energy alternative during periods of electrical service interruption.
“We know that the people most affected during a blackout are those who are bedridden or those who depend on electrical medical equipment to survive and taking into account the fragility of our energy system, we consider a project necessary that could meet the needs of this population in our city,” Rivera Cruz said in a written statement.
He said the process of total restoration of the island’s electrical system will take at least eight years and will entail the disconnection of the service for periods of time, which can be programmed or unexpected, so it is necessary to take proactive measures so that the process affects little as possible vulnerable people whose lives depend on the continued use of electrical medical equipment.
The municipality intends to deliver solar rechargeable batteries to people who meet the requirements set forth in the approved eligibility guidelines, which are as follows:
* Be a bonafide resident of Bayamón
* That the person does not have another alternative energy generation system
* Show proof of disability that requires 24-hour electrical assistance equipment or that the participant is bedridden.
“In the first phase, we will start with people who are bedridden or who depend on medical assistance equipment operated by electricity, and then we will continue with the elderly aged 75 or over, giving priority to those who live alone and so on,” the mayor said.
He said the “Solar Recharge Portable Battery Program,” which is financed with federal and municipal funds, will be active while the available funds last and will not apply to people who already have some alternative energy generation equipment in their home, such as generators or solar panels, nor to older people who reside in hospices or homes for the elderly.
Rivera Cruz noted that it is important that people who meet these requirements register through the official website of the municipality, www.municipiodebayamon.com, and go to the electronic application link that will appear on the page. He stressed that requests will not be answered by phone or in person.
Meanwhile, Rafael Bobé, distributor of the equipment in Puerto Rico and owner of Sobrevive Store, said the equipment consists of a battery with a 1,500-watt inverter, which energizes essential and household equipment such as: refrigerator, fan, light bulbs and television or some other appliance that operates with 110 volts. It also includes a 200-watt solar panel to recharge the battery when power is out.
He added that the equipment has a three-year warranty and does not represent a safety threat to the people who use it.
“For the guarantee, we have a maintenance workshop in Puerto Rico and the expectation of use of the portable battery can exceed seven years, with proper care,” he said.