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Puerto Rico Lawmakers Call for State of Emergency Amid Power Outages

SAN JUAN, PR – June 14, 2024 — Power outages have severely disrupted life in Puerto Rico since early June, with the latest incident leaving 350,000 residents without electricity for hours during a sweltering heatwave. The blackout also interrupted water services and endangered the lives of the elderly and those with medical conditions, such as individuals relying on respirators and insulin that requires refrigeration. Luma Energy, the private company responsible for electricity transmission and distribution on the island, attributed the outage to failures in two transmission lines. Although power has been restored, lawmakers are urging the governor to declare a state of emergency in response to the recurring issues.

The persistent power problems have reignited concerns over Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island’s fragile electric grid in 2017, the territory has struggled to provide reliable electricity. The government had hoped that privatizing the power grid would lead to improvements, but that promise remains unfulfilled.

Frustration among Puerto Ricans has mounted, with many taking to social media to call for the removal of private companies like Luma Energy. The outages have not only sparked public outcry but also prompted action; during a previous blackout earlier this month, towns in central and southern regions activated emergency response teams and requested food distribution to cope with the prolonged power loss. The situation underscores the urgent need for a sustainable solution to Puerto Rico’s ongoing energy crisis.