Breakers Where the General Blackout Happened Were To Be Replaced in December 2021 by PREPA

The area in the switchyard where the Central Costa Sur fire occurred, which caused the general blackout last Wednesday, should have been renovated four months ago, in December 2021, according to the original infrastructure plan through which the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) will access $10.7 billion in federal recovery funds. But, after LUMA’s arrival in June 2021, as operator of the transmission and distribution system, the processes were delayed. The completion date for the repairs at the plant was postponed to February 2023, according to documents from the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) reviewed. 

Avería en breaker de salida de Unidad #5 de Costa Sur al 230kv ocasionó la salida de las unidades 5 y 6 de la Central. El sistema de protección del sistema eléctrico sacó de servicio el resto de las unidades que estaban generando.— Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (@AEEONLINE) April 7, 2022

The recovery work in Costa Sur, Guayanilla, included replacing four switches of the 230-kilowatt transmission lines because they have already completed their useful life and are obsolete.

AES Gives Government of Puerto Rico an Ultimatum for Economic Bailout

Email exchanges, meetings with key personnel from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the discussion of a Memorandum of Understanding to renegotiate AES Puerto Rico’s (AES-PR) contract with the government of Puerto Rico six years before it expires. This all has happened over the past 11 months, away from public scrutiny. However, a letter from Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the Fiscal Control Board, to PREPA’s Governing Board uncovered what until today had been a secret between AES executives and members of Pedro Pierluisi’s administration: that the coal energy producer is going through its worst economic crisis and to get out of it, is demanding that the government of Puerto Rico come to its rescue. “The cash flow problem at AES-PR is dire,” AES President Jesús Bolinaga Serfaty said in a letter written on March 24, 2021 to PREPA executives that had been kept secret, but that the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) and La Perla del Sur obtained after months of requests and the filing of a request for Mandamus for access to public information. Screenshot of the communication.

Journalists go to court to gain access to information on the contract renegotiation between AES and PREPA

The Center for Investigative Journalism and journalist Omar Alfonso, editor of regional newspaper La Perla del Sur, on Tuesday filed a Mandamus on the constitutional right of access to public information to petition documents related to the renegotiation of the contract between coal ash company AES and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

The Fantasy of the Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico

The most recent version of Puerto Rico’s fiscal plan for its central government would chart the future of the country, giving some degree of certainty to citizens, businesses and investors to bet on the island’s dismal economy. Yet it is built on economic projections totally incompatible with the historical experience of places that have been destroyed by hurricanes the world over. The plan also clashes with what has been Puerto Rico’s economic trajectory. In the past 30 years, the economy has never reached annual growth such as that estimated for fiscal year 2019 by the financial team of Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares. The group is led by Christian Sobrino, governor’s representative before the Fiscal Control Board (FCB), chief economic adviser to the governor, president of the Government Development Bank and chairman of the Financial Advisory & Fiscal Agency Authority (AAFAF by its Spanish acronym); and Gerardo Portela, executive director of AAFAF and by virtue of his position, member of the boards of directors of all public corporations.

They promised jobs… and brought ashes

The whereabouts of the millions of tons of coal ash that have been spilled on the island expose its effects on health and their potential threat to the Southern Aquifer.

Something happened in Arroyo Barril

Eight years have passed but Amparo Andújar Maldonado does not forget. She lost her first child while she was approaching the fifth month of her pregnancy. Nor does she erases from her mind giving birth to a disfigured fetus, with cranial malformation, something incomprehensible for a healthy 27 year old woman, counting with quality prenatal care. But Amparo was not alone. From 2005 to 2008, the rate of miscarriages and premature births rose suddenly in the Encantado neighborhood of Arroyo Barril, a working-class rural and coastal town, north of the Dominican Republic.