• Why does restoring full power in Democrat welfare shithole Puerto Rico

    From Daniel Harris@21:1/5 to All on Mon Apr 16 12:13:09 2018
    XPost: alt.culture.us.hispanics, ne.weather, sac.general
    XPost: alt.rush-limbaugh


    About a third of Puerto Rico's residents — over 900,000 — are
    still living without electricity five months after Hurricane
    Maria battered the island on Sept. 20th of last year.

    As power restoration efforts continue against all odds, it's
    still hard for officials to say when the power will be fully
    restored — the question on everyone's mind.

    “I would hesitate to give you a date,” said Lt. Col. John
    Cunningham of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the deputy
    commander for the Task Force Power Restoration on the island.
    “We would like to go faster, but right now we’re going as fast
    as we can.”

    “The largest challenge has been logistics: getting the materials
    we need,” Cunningham told NBC News. “Because it is a tropical
    island, they need specific conductors and materials that can
    resist the tropical weather and there’s a limited number of
    suppliers available to purchase specific materials for the

    After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, getting access to those
    materials is even harder.

    About 1,200 temporary generators and seven microgrids are
    powering key areas near important buildings such as schools and
    hospitals. In addition, teams from utility companies from the
    mainland U.S. have made their way to Puerto Rico to support
    personnel sent to the island to help restore power.

    After Hurricane Maria left the entire island without power, the
    Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, needed at least
    about 53,000 poles, a little over 17 million conductors and
    184,750 insulators.

    So far, 5,072 transformers have arrived in Puerto Rico in
    addition to about 31,500 poles and about 2,613 miles of
    conductor cables already on the island, PREPA said in a

    In the next two weeks, Puerto Rico should receive 80 containers
    with additional equipment.

    One of the reasons for a lack of inventory in the first place is
    PREPA's financial woes. While a Category 5 hurricane like Maria
    was expected to cause massive damage, Puerto Rico's bankrupt and
    greatly indebted public utility had not kept up with upgrading
    and modernizing its four-decade-old power plants, which mostly
    produce energy from burning imported oil.

    Puerto Rican government leaders went to federal court in New
    York on Thursday to request a $1 billion emergency loan to
    finance operational costs and avoid running out of cash. Though
    the request was not approved, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor
    Swain gave Puerto Rico’s lawyers the chance to submit another
    motion for a $300 million emergency loan, understanding that
    “the lights cannot go off in Puerto Rico.” The motion was filed
    early Friday and Judge Swain approved it on Monday.

    To reduce costs and avoid a shutdown, Puerto Rico has activated
    a contingency plan that consists of reducing power to energy
    reserves that handle generation failures like the one that took
    place on Feb. 12 in northern Puerto Rico. Government officials
    said Sunday it should not affect customers.

    PREPA is currently the government agency with the biggest share
    of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion public debt. In part, PREPA’s $9
    billion debt is due to unpaid electricity bills from public
    entities in Puerto Rico.

    Liquidity issues around Puerto Rico's power company go back
    decades. Through Puerto Rico's fiscal agency AAFAF, most PREPA
    projects get funded through the issuance of bonds.

    Critics say past projects illustrate a history of costly

    Francisco Lopez, an engineer and PREPA employee for 36 years and
    now an independent energy consultant, had pitched a project in
    2010 called Via Verde that consisted of a natural gas pipeline
    across the island.

    Because the governor at the time, Luis Fortuño, had signed an
    executive order declaring a “state of emergency" around electric
    power generation, the project was approved and bonds were issued
    before any public hearings.

    Photos: 100 days in the dark leave Puerto Ricans with glimmer of

    PREPA had done a study that showed that revenues from Via Verde
    would be enough to pay back bondholders. “It would have taken,
    like, five years," said Lopez.

    But the $350 million Via Verde project never came to life after
    strong opposition from community members and environmentalists.
    With no project, there was no revenue, but PREPA still had to
    pay bondholders back as well as the already-hired contractors.
    Lopez said situations like this have contributed to the
    utility's debt.

    As PREPA grapples with financial issues, it has also faced
    strong questions about its actions following the hurricane.

    A former supervisor and chemist at PREPA, Carlos Velez, was
    critical of the government's initial handling of its equipment
    and restoration needs.

    Related: FEMA under scrutiny over botched contract to provide
    meals for Puerto Rico

    “In a situation where PREPA lacks inventory, the usual procedure
    is to ask the American Public Power Association (APPA) for
    what’s needed,” said Velez. APPA is a not-for-profit
    organization that serves U.S. public utilities; it has worked
    with PREPA on previous post-hurricane efforts.

    Instead, PREPA came under fire after signing a $300 million
    contract with Whitefish, a small Montana-based firm. The
    contract was eventually terminated after questions emerged
    following a Washington Post report about the company and the

    It wasn’t until the end of October, more than a month after the
    hurricane, that APPA received Puerto Rico’s petition asking for
    help. It still remains unclear why APPA’s help was requested so

    FEMA deputy administrator Ahsha Tribble, who has been working on
    the island for months, said in an Oversight Board hearing that
    PREPA's bureaucracy has slowed down restoration efforts. “When
    you have eight layers of approval to get something done, it’s
    not working for us,” said Tribble.

    PREPA has also been dealing with changing leadership. In
    November, its executive director Ricardo Ramos stepped down and
    Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called for Justo Gonzalez’s appointment as
    interim director.

    “When you put an interim director in the middle of a disaster,
    it’s hard. It’s very difficult to begin to make decisions,” said

    The spotlight on PREPA after the devastating storm and the
    financial crisis may result in significant changes. Gov.
    Rosselló announced a plan last month to move toward privatizing
    the utility, pledging a more "financially viable," consumer-
    centered model.

    While there is debate over the plan, consumer watchdogs and
    analysts have long called for changes to PREPA. In addition, the
    utility's finances and debt are now being scrutinized by a
    financial oversight board started under President Barack Obama
    as well as Judge Swain.

    In the meantime, the start of the next hurricane season is just
    four months away.

    "I want to assure all clients still without electricity, that we
    have you in mind. We know our work is not over and we are
    prioritizing restoration for this population,” said Justo
    Gonzalez, PREPA’s interim director, in a statement. “No one
    deserves to be without electricity, so we appreciate your
    patience. "

    https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/puerto-rico-crisis/why-does- restoring-full-power-puerto-rico-seem-never-ending-n847211

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