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Regulatory official: Power customers have right to file claims for blackout damages


Independent Office for Consumer Protection Executive Director Hannia Rivera Díaz

By The Star Staff


Hannia Rivera Díaz, the executive director of the Independent Office for Consumer Protection (OIPC by its Spanish initials) of the Public Service Regulatory Board, said Monday that consumers have the right to file claims against LUMA Energy for damages suffered as a result of the recent power outage caused by a malfunction at the Costa Sur power plant.


Rivera Díaz denied claims made by LUMA Energy officials to the effect that they are not liable for damages suffered by clients because of the most recent power outage.


“It is very important that the consumer knows that, if he has suffered any damages, he has the right to file a claim against LUMA,” Rivera Díaz said in a written statement. “Although it is true that there is a liability waiver in favor of LUMA, it is not a full one. In cases involving gross negligence, intent, or reckless conduct, the consumer is entitled to compensation for direct damages, including property damage. The investigation in this case has not concluded; therefore, it is incorrect to assert that consumers do not have the right to [file a] claim.”


The incident at Costa Sur has been blamed on a lack of adequate maintenance.


There is currently a process for claiming damages from the private consortium that operates the island’s electricity transmission and distribution system, and LUMA cannot refuse to deal with claims filed by customers. The official said the OIPC will ensure that LUMA Energy and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority comply with their responsibility to energy consumers.


Rivera Díaz added that to learn the details of the services offered by the OIPC, consumers can access https://oipc.pr.gov/. In it, they will find information on energy matters, such as the bill objection process with LUMA Energy, the process for filing a complaint with the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, claims for damage to appliances as a result of fluctuations and/or interruptions in electricity service, how to read the LUMA Energy bill, energy conservation, energy efficiency and the functioning and operation of renewable energy systems, among others. Consumers can also call 787-523-6962 or write to info@oipc.pr.gov.

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