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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

LUMA stresses vegetation was cause of June 12 blackout

LUMA Energy’s communications team said an ongoing investigation into last month’s mass blackout has already identified vegetation as the immediate cause and steps have been taken to improve the condition of the power grid. (Facebook via LUMA Energy)

By The Star Staff

LUMA Energy, the private operator of the island’s electric power transmission and distribution system, said Tuesday that the cause of the massive outage on June 12, which left more than 350,000 customers without power, was due to vegetation-related problems.

According to LUMA’s communications team, the ongoing investigation into the incident has already identified vegetation as the immediate cause and steps have been taken to improve the condition of the power grid.

“During the recent outage that impacted 340,000 customers on June 12, we restored service to most affected customers within six hours,” stated LUMA’s communications team. ‘We are conducting a full investigation of the June 12 event, and as part of this formal process, on June 20 we submitted a preliminary report of the incident to the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB). This report indicates that the immediate cause of the outage is related to vegetation.”

LUMA stressed that it has already taken key steps, such as repairs and other actions, to improve the power grid.

“At LUMA, we are committed to investigating the root cause of the outage to better understand why they occur and reduce the risk of similar events happening in the future,” the company said.

San Juan District 4 Rep. Víctor Parés Otero on Monday asked Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz to present the reports that LUMA Energy and Genera PR, the operator of PREPA’S legacy generation plants, were due to deliver on the June 12 blackout. Parés expressed frustration at the lack of information available nearly a month after the incident.

Colón Ortiz said that since June 14, information requests have been sent to LUMA and Genera through the Public-Private Partnerships Authority.

“As of July 5, we have not received a response to the request for information from LUMA Energy, while Genera PR responded to the request on June 24,” the PREPA chief said. “Once we receive the response from … LUMA Energy, we will be in a position to continue the evaluation of the events that occurred on June 12.”

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia had ordered both LUMA and Genera to deliver reports on the events associated with the blackout.

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