Hundreds protest to demand Puerto Rico scrap contract with power grid operator

Demonstrators protest to demand the cancellation of electricity grid operator LUMA Energy contract outside the governor’s mansion La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico July 20, 2022. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

SAN JUAN (Reuters) - Hundreds of people marched on Wednesday in Puerto Rico's capital San Juan to demand that the island's government cancel its contract with power grid operator LUMA Energy over chronic power outages and frequent rate hikes.

Demonstrators including union leaders and community activists say LUMA has steadily increased power rates despite frequent outages including one in April that left more than one- third of the island in darkness.

Protestors shouted slogans including "There goes LUMA, there goes LUMA with another increase" and "LUMA, a bunch of morons who burn substations."

Power rates have gone up five times since LUMA began operating Puerto Rico's transmission and distribution system on June 1, 2020. The last rate hike, which took effect at the start of July, pushed rates up by 17.1%.

"Although we respect the right to protest, the reality is that some people prefer to play politics and ignore the fact that LUMA inherited an electrical system that suffered years, in fact decades, of abandonment," LUMA said in a statement in response to protests.

The office of Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, decimating a power grid that was already struggling from low maintenance and poor collection of power bills.

(Reporting by Ivelisse Rivera in San Juan and Brian Ellsworth in Miami; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Shelling hits southern Ukraine, Russia in U.N. spotlight over escalation
Kremlin's mention of possible use of nuclear weapons 'absolutely unacceptable' - Ukraine's Kuleba
Putin’s threat to use nukes is a sure sign his war is failing
African Global Citizen patrons urge world to consider continent's giving power
North Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of U.S. VP Harris visit
Right-wing alliance seen as likely winner as Italians vote
U.S. CIA's in-house museum adds new spy exhibits
Confucius Day marked in Budapest with cultural programs
Saudi crown prince meets with Turkish officials - SPA
Somaliland postpones presidential election to next year

Others Also Read