PREPA finds 47 improper electricity hookups at Jobos Bay Reserve
By John McPhaul
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Executive Director Josué Colón Ortíz said Thursday that from what he has seen in the investigation carried out by the public corporation, dozens of electrical installations in the Jobos Bay Reserve in Salinas are deficient in some way.
Colón Ortiz said that as a result of the controversy, he ordered an investigation at the scene. PREPA employees prepared a 190-page report, where 47 installations with deficiencies were identified.
A day earlier, Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández decided to order a criminal investigation parallel to the civil one carried out by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) into the alleged invasion of the reserve.
“After evaluating the information that emerged at the meeting yesterday, I have decided to order an investigation into possible violations of a criminal nature in the construction on and occupation of land belonging to the DNER in the reserve zone in Salinas,” the DNER secretary said late Wednesday in a written statement
The PREPA chief, meanwhile, said that in order for a client to have access to electricity, they must be compliant in four categories: a use permit, an electrical certification (from a licensed electrician or electrical engineer), the property deed or lease agreement and the client’s identification.
“From what was identified, in a preliminary way in the report, is that of those 47 cases, seven had the same use permit, which in itself is a deficiency. Three of these cases had the use permit, with a number in sequence, which is not correct either, while 21 cases did not have the use permit and 26 did not have the electrical certification,” Colón Ortíz said in a radio interview (NotiUno). “So there are different shortcomings in terms of what was required for these customers to have access to electricity.”
“Everything indicates that the clients who are in that area should not have access to electricity,” he added.
The PREPA chief noted that the 47 people with electrical service had not been identified. Most of the installations with doubtful permits occurred under PREPA and one of them was with LUMA Energy.
Asked if there will be an investigation to determine if PREPA employees or supervisors intervened in any way so that the people in question could gain access to electricity, Colón Ortíz stated that they are cooperating with the Department of Justice in the criminal investigation that has just begun.
Regarding whether the electrical service to the occupants of the area has already been cut off, the PREPA director said that action is under the purview of LUMA Energy.