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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Several Guánica communities are still in darkness

In the Ponce region, which includes Guánica and Guayama, LUMA had reported that 84% of customers had service as of Monday morning.

By The Star Staff

Guánica Mayor Ismael Rodríguez Ramos said Monday that Barrios Arenas, Fuig, La Joya, Santa Rita, Magüeyes and Santa Juanita in the southwestern coastal town are still in the dark, as well as some areas in other communities.

LUMA Energy, the private consortium in charge of the island’s electricity transmission and distribution system, claims to have restored power to more than 1.34 million customers, or 92%. Regarding the Ponce region, of which Guánica is part, LUMA has reported that 84% of customers have service.

“In that remaining 16% are our communities, and because the consortium itself admitted that they have no way of knowing where there are pockets without service, unless people call, well, we in the municipality are already reporting the dark areas,” the mayor said.

Rodríguez Ramos pointed out that he is concerned that LUMA will take several more days to complete the work, given the two atmospheric disturbances already under observation in the Atlantic Ocean. One system is several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, with a 30% chance of development over the next 24 hours and a 40% chance of development over the next four days.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service reported that the second system, located hundreds of miles south of the Cape Verde Islands off the African coast, could form a tropical depression by mid-week.

“It has a 70% chance of developing, and we are watching how that goes,” the mayor said.

More than 10 downed poles await LUMA in Guayama

Guayama Mayor O’brain Vázquez Molina, asked the energy consortium to take immediate action in Barrio Carite, where more than 10 electrical utility poles have been down since the passage of Hurricane Fiona. The southeastern coastal municipality is also in LUMA Energy’s Ponce region.

“Recovery will not be possible if we leave so many homes unattended,” Vázquez Molina said. “The consortium has not properly attended to that neighborhood, and I, as mayor, am in defense of these communities. Here in Carite, many older people with health conditions urgently need electrical service. We in the Municipality of Guayama are doing our part, and LUMA has to do its part. This goes beyond measuring everything in simple percentages. We are talking about human lives.”

The mayor added that there are also streets and rural areas of Guayama in darkness, where no LUMA vehicles or personnel are working.

“They do nothing to energize them, when in some cases, we know, it is only to reset fuses,” he said.

According to LUMA Energy on Sunday afternoon, “given the severity of the damages in the most affected regions,” the consortium’s brigades are prioritizing and carrying out crucial repairs in the west and south of the island. The estimate is that by Thursday, the Ponce and Mayagüez regions, which suffered the most damage after Hurricane Fiona, including severe flooding and damage to roads, bridges and electrical infrastructure, will be fully energized.

On Monday morning, 79.6% of the customers without electricity in Puerto Rico 16 days after the passage of Hurricane Fiona were in 29 municipalities that make up the regions of Ponce and Mayagüez.

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