Governor: 82% of power customers have electricity, 92% have water service
By Alejandra M. Jover Tovar
Special to The Star
At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia gave an update on the recovery efforts after the passage of Hurricane Fiona over Puerto Rico 10 days ago. He said his primary concern is that everybody has electrical and water service.
“Today, 82% of subscribers have electricity, and 92% have water service. Credit will be given for services not rendered. However, I want to make it clear that 82% is not satisfactory. We want 100%, and I am obsessively following up with the LUMA team and PREPA to have electricity as soon as possible,” Pierluisi said. “Not having electricity is a problem for anyone, and on many occasions, it causes a lack of drinking water service. We also want 100% potable water service.”
“We are in the midst of the recovery process, with commercial activity returning to normal,” governor added. “I continue to visit and assist municipalities affected by Hurricane Fiona. We are responding to the needs of the people in coordination with the mayors. Earlier today, at our request, the [Financial Oversight and Management] Board approved a 15-day extension for the use of state emergency funds.”
The governor provided statistics on the restoration efforts, such as the arrival of a diesel barge due to a temporary waiver of the Jones Act.
“The barge will dock at the Corco dock and then at the Peerless dock in Peñuelas,” he said. “With this, we understand that the fuel supply issue will be taken care of, although we remain vigilant.”
As of Thursday afternoon, 87 people were still in six shelters, and the Housing Department was looking for substitute homes. Also, 28,000 hot meals have been distributed since the beginning of the emergency.
As for the hospitals, all have electrical service ex
cept the Psychiatric Hospital in Cabo Rojo, which uses a generator lent by the government. Sixteen of the island’s 149 diagnostic and treatment centers are running on generators.
Pierluisi noted that there had been 24 hurricane-related deaths, with 11 confirmed cases and 13 under investigation (see related story on page 6).
“That is why the work of our Health secretary and the team is so important that we do not continue to lose lives due to this hurricane,” he said.
The governor added that the Health Department “has already delivered 50 solar generators for homes, … has an additional 150 and is awaiting 200 more.”
He also noted that “ASSMCA [the Spanish initials of the Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services Administration] is fully activated, offering crisis intervention services around the island” (see related story on page 5).
“It has provided direct services that have impacted 11,173 citizens since the beginning of the emergency, including in 422 shelters,” Pierluisi said.
There are 613 public schools open with water and electricity services, he said.
“Damage was identified in 86 schools, three of which are in critical situations in Toa Baja, Yauco, and Aguadilla,” the governor said.
Other agencies have been working on the recovery efforts. Some 28,000 families have received boxes with food and supplemental federal nutrition aid.
Meanwhile, 150 New York and New Jersey police officers have arrived on the island and are assisting local policemen in recovery efforts.
Pierluisi also said the Highways and Transportation Authority continues its damage assessment in more than 700 locations, and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is operating with local interagency teams to continue to assist with damage assessments and public assistance claims.