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LUMA Energy: Failures at PREPA generation plants will bring outages


By The Star Staff


LUMA Energy, the company that since June 1 has been responsible for operating and maintaining the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) transmission and distribution system, blamed PREPA on Monday for a drop in energy generation that will last until Thursday and will result in power outages.


“When demand exceeds generation, available power supplies are distributed throughout the system by reducing load, which means disconnecting parts of the network in sequence to relieve pressure on the fragile power grid and ensure a stable supply throughout the system,” LUMA Energy said in a statement Monday.


PREPA confirmed that due to failures in several of the units in the power plants, a generation limitation is expected for the next few days.


At the Costa Sur Power Plant, Unit 6 was turned off on Aug. 20 due to a mechanical failure. The unit generates about 410 megawatts (MW) and is currently under repair.


Unit 1 of the Aguirre Power Plant suffered an electrical failure in one of the motors of the boiler feed pump on Aug. 29, and the technical staff is working to repair it. Aguirre’s Unit 2, meanwhile, has been in maintenance since the end of July. Unit 2 generates 450 MW and work is being accelerated in order to bring it into service in the coming days.


Unit 9 of the San Juan Power Plant had a fault in a fan and had decreased its production from 100 MW to 50 MW. Central technical personnel are working on that situation.


The Palo Seco Power Plant, Unit 3, which went into service Sunday, is operating with limited generation and the staff continues to work to achieve stability.


“It has been a tough few days and PREPA personnel continue to work to bring these units into service with their maximum capacity in the coming days,” PREPA said. “The team continues to focus on completing maintenance work as quickly as possible.”


Peak demand, which generally occurs in the late afternoon and early morning, is estimated to exceed the available generation until Thursday and rotating outages are to be expected during peak demand hours, LUMA Energy said.


“When it becomes necessary to carry out a load reduction, LUMA will publish updates through its social media channels to keep customers informed about the affected areas and the expected service restoration times,” the LUMA statement read.


Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau has scheduled a hearing on Sept. 23 to determine the requirements and impact of electric vehicle chargers on the bankrupt PREPA.


Tomás Torres, the consumer representative to PREPA’s governing board, said the chargers should have a positive impact on PREPA’s finances because they will increase demand for power.


The move comes because of federal legislation that will help push the use of electric vehicles. The current $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is proposing $7.5 billion in electric vehicle charging funding, a number that is expected to go up if amendments to that effect are accepted.

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