LUMA acknowledges that electrical system is not ready for hurricane season
By The Star Staff
LUMA Energy President Juan Saca acknowledged Wednesday that the island’s electrical system is unprepared for the hurricane season.
Saca made the statement to reporters before offering a presentation to the Puerto Rico Mayors Association as part of the Hurricane Season Summit at the entity’s headquarters in San Juan.
“From the standpoint of answering yes, we are,” Saca replied to a journalist when asked if they were ready for the hurricane season, which has already begun. “From the standpoint of the situation we have with the transmission and distribution network today, no, because it is a network that still needs a lot of updating and will take a while. Also, remember that weather and vegetation are a real problem.”
The peak of the hurricane season historically occurs in September.
Saca said vegetation has been cleared along 1,500 miles of cables, but it is necessary to work on another 15,000 miles “and that is not done overnight.”
Saca added that he will make an announcement in August regarding additional initiatives to address the issue of vegetation growth around power lines.
Regarding the constant load relays and blackouts of the past few days, Saca blamed them on Genera PR, the new private operator of most of the island’s power plants, and said questions on the subject should be directed to that company.
“This is something that Genera is the entity with whom to talk,” he said. “I have a meeting with them every day at 4 p.m. We are completely aligned on how to handle these issues; we are constantly in communication.”
Saca attributed the relays to the age of the electrical system and that, although it has to be renewed, the process will take time.
“I prefer that Genera give you more information about it,” he said.
Is Genera responsible? he was asked.
“The issue of generation, the person responsible is Genera, definitively, but remember that the weather [conditions] also has much to do with breakdowns,” Saca said. “It does not matter if it is their fault or ours. Genera, in fact, they have been very transparent, and we have taken the information that they provide, and we give a repost [they share the information on social networks] of that.”