House Democrats demand information from Puerto Rican power company following outages

House Democrats demand information from Puerto Rican power company following outages
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House Democrats are demanding the Puerto Rican power company that took over the island’s grid release information following outages that affected hundreds of thousands of individuals. 

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), chair of its subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, sent a letter to the president of LUMA Energy on Friday demanding the company turn over multiple documents by Oct. 22.

The committee is currently investigating Puerto Rico turning over its power grid to LUMA from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

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The committee recently had a hearing with LUMA president Wayne Stensby in which the representatives said in the letter that Stensby’s answers to “many” of the questions “were insufficient.”

The members alleged LUMA’s takeover of the power grid has not led to lower electricity rates and better access for customers, pointing to a power outage that affected 800,000 Puerto Ricans in June after a fire started at a LUMA substation. 

The letter says LUMA has been increasing rates despite saying they wouldn’t for three years and claims the company does not have enough employees or enough employees with experience.  

Grijalva and Porter want documents turned over with information regarding the company’s damage to customers’ property from voltage fluctuations, the causes of service disruptions from the beginning of June to the end of September, the total number of LUMA employees and the number of crews responsible for maintenance and outage repair.

The company began taking over the island’s power transmissions at the beginning of June after it signed a 15-year contract with the government. 

Puerto Rico has struggled with its power grid since 2017 when Hurricane Maria devastated the area.