Puerto Ricans are no strangers to sporadic power outages of random nature. In fact, they are often acquainted with the unreliable nature of the island’s power system, LUMA Energy. But this summer, due to extreme heat, it has become more than accounted for. With just under 150,000 islanders without power at a time we welcome the summer to Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico has broken a record with a 125-degree heat index. The cause is a mix of possibilities, since according to meteorologists, the intensified circumstances are attributed to a blend of atmospheric conditions, oceanic patterns, and the influence of human-induced climate change. But the effects leave no room for question. These being the island’s electrical system and the islanders’ health.
The soaring temperatures pose challenges to the island’s electrical grid. Increased demand for electricity to power air conditioning units, refrigeration, and other cooling systems has put additional stress on the power infrastructure. This strain is what is responsible for blackouts, which could further escalate the risks to public health.
With the increasing humidity, the residents of Puerto Rico are becoming vulnerable to heat exhaustion and, in severe cases, heat strokes.
Chief meteorologist at Wapa Television in Puerto Rico, Ada Monzón, even tweeted: “Being without power during extreme heat events is a serious risk, and can even lead to death,”
So noticeably, the best and safest option is to stay indoors. However, due to the growing number of residents seeking shelter indoors, the electricity demand in Puerto Rico exceeded the capacity of the power grid, resulting in a power outage that affected over 100,000 residents on Tuesday night.
This increase in energy demand that Puerto Rico has experienced in recent days has once again called into question the capacity of Puerto Rico’s electrical system to sustain itself in extreme scenarios, which are not necessarily limited to the passage of an atmospheric event.
LUMA energy has been the subject of many protests in the island, as well as the source of so much criticism, and it once again continues to disappoint the people of Puerto Rico while shamelessly and constantly increasing the electrical bill.
On the one hand, LUMA Energy claimed, on Sunday, that its brigades were responding to interruptions “caused by strong winds and extreme heat in the central and western regions,” while the next day they reported that the blackouts were linked to “the weather conditions throughout Puerto Rico.”
They also advised people “To minimize the likelihood of these interruptions, reduce your energy consumption if possible”.
Whatever the case may be, islander hope these issues will be resolved soon, because the National Weather service states that these conditions could persist until next Tuesday.