Pierluisi celebrates Jose Celso Barbosa

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Blog # 19

Blog # 19

As Puerto Rico’s power crisis worsens, lawmakers probing outages seek answers

Officials say the crisis of “the worst performing electricity system in the United States” will be resolved soon, but members of Congress and people on the island remain skeptical.

Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rico residents have experienced widespread blackouts, longer service restoration times, poor customer service and voltage fluctuations that often damage appliances and other home electronics since Luma Energy partly took over the island’s electric grid in the summer.

Lawmakers in Congress and in the U.S. territory are now seeking specific answers from Luma Energy, which has a contract to do transmission and distribution for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, that may point to why the power crisis is worsening amid electricity price hikes and unreliable service.

Puerto Ricans like Brenda Otero, who owns a bakery near San Juan, have seen their electric bills increase nearly 33 percent this year. And just last week, her business lost $1,000 as a result of the constant blackouts and lack of power.

Some of the financial information being requested by Congress is normally available through Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which are documents public companies are required to periodically file. These documents are not publicly available for Luma Energy.

“Luma has refused to provide us any information and instead, they’ve embarked on an appeals process in court,” Torres Cruz told NBC News in Spanish.

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*https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-ricos-power-crisis-worsens-lawmakers-probing-outages-seek-answe-rcna2920

My/MI opinion: 
This is a painful situation to observe, since I grew up in Puerto Rico, and noting how the island has had these problems since the last storms, the government responded by privatization, a predictable disaster happened. Now the electric service company, cloaked in secrecy of a private company, claims they have the right to protect the privacy of its highly paid officials. Puerto Rico is being sold. Its services, that once were affordable, now belong to companies who do not care about the public, and are poised to raise prices on consumers who have no choice but pay, or leave the island where they grew up. All political parties are complicit, since they acquired an unpayable debt from Wall Street,  U.S. court is there to make the general population pay for decades to come. Passing local legislation is meaningless, since the island belongs to the U.S., and has no standing in court. Many are once again headed for the airports, the only way out of the island. The island will be left for the ones that can pay, or to the vacationing owners. It was predictable, but still sad to see it continuing decade after decade.

/////Esta es una situación dolorosa de observar, ya que crecí en Puerto Rico, y notando cómo la isla ha tenido estos problemas desde las últimas tormentas, el gobierno respondió con la privatización, sucedió un desastre predecible. Ahora, la empresa de servicios eléctricos, encubierta en el secreto de una empresa privada, afirma que tiene derecho a proteger la privacidad de sus funcionarios altamente remunerados. Se vende Puerto Rico. Sus servicios, que antes eran asequibles, ahora pertenecen a empresas que no se preocupan por el público y están preparadas para subir los precios a los consumidores que no tienen más remedio que pagar, o dejar la isla donde crecieron. Todos los partidos políticos son cómplices, ya que adquirieron una deuda impagable de Wall Street, la corte de los EE. UU. está ahí para hacer que la población en general pague durante las próximas décadas. Aprobar la legislación local es irrelevante, ya que la isla pertenece a los EE. UU. y no tiene capacidad para comparecer ante los tribunales. Muchos se dirigen una vez más a los aeropuertos, la única salida de la isla. La isla quedará para los que puedan pagar, o para los turistas de vacaciones y dueños extranjeros. Era predecible, pero sigue siendo triste verlo continuar década tras década.