Business & Economy

Hundreds protest against electric company in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Aug 25 (EFE).- Hundreds of people, including the rapper René Pérez Joglar, known as “Residente,” protested Thursday in front of the Puerto Rican government headquarters in San Juan against Luma Energy, a private company that oversees the transmission and distribution of electricity on the island.

Blackouts that have occurred daily in Puerto Rico since Luma arrived on the island in June 2021 and increases in bills despite them were the impetus for the demonstration, also attended by other well-known artists and members of opposition political parties.

Banners with slogans such as “Luma is the worst for the working people” and “No to the increase in electricity, no to Luma,” and the rumble of the banging of saucepans stood out during the protest.

The protest, which took place on Calle de la Fortaleza, also known as “Calle de la Resistencia,” was also attended by teacher Irmary Claudio, who told EFE about some of the issues she experiences daily in her school when a blackout occurs.

She said she is “tired of when I go to work at my desk and the power goes out, I cannot project presentations to my students, the air conditioning in the living room turns off and there is no ventilation for the children.”

“It is difficult to teach under these circumstances,” she added.

The arrival of Luma 14 months ago has also caused large increases in the cost of electricity bills, examples of which have been posted by citizens to social media networks.

Claudio said that “the price increase is not consistent with the poor service offered by Luma.”

Orlando Figueroa, who worked for 26 years as a caretaker at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa), previously in charge of the entire network until Luma arrived, told EFE that he decided to attend the protest because of his outrage against the work of private companies.

Figueroa said he was four years away from retiring from Prepa, but when Luma took over he was required to cancel all of his seniority with the public corporation. He rejected the offer and left his job to join the Public Buildings Authority.

“Apart from the outrage at everything that is happening in the electrical system, which is in free fall, I estimate that by January or February, if it is not properly maintained and it is not attended to as it should be, it will cause a collapse in the system,” warned the 51-year-old. EFE


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