May 11, 2021

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PREPA has no idea what caused the massive blackout

Engineer José Ortiz, executive director of the Electric Power Authority (AEE), could not give an explanation of what caused the massive blackout on Tuesday, which left over 500,000 customers without service.

Ortiz maintained that after the blackout, they checked the lines and saw nothing that would indicate what caused the fault.

“This afternoon, when the event (the blackout) occurs, we went out on patrol with the helicopters and found that three lines had fallen. , from Arecibo, to, basically going around Mayagüez, to Ecoeléctrica (in Peñuelas). By leaving Ecoeléctrica without power, the plant, which is still recovering, is knocked down, "he said.

" After patrolling the entire line, not a single problem was found. All those lines that fell at the same time, are working and came into operation an hour or an hour and a half after the event. Something pretty weird. We are analyzing the situation with great suspicion, "he added.

" The event arose, or at least the system detected it as an event that arose in Isabela, in what is known as the Mora sector. When we went to patrol there, there is nothing. There is nothing there, there is nothing until Mayagüez, and there is nothing in all the patrols until Arecibo. So no problem was found, "he tried to explain.

" Nothing was found to trigger it. What was seen is like that the three lines, shorted between the three lines. That we are talking about 230,000 volts. We are talking about the lines that are higher, far from the reach of people. And on the ground we sent the engineers who were reviewing until now, and not a single problem was found. You must find a branch, a burnt breaker, some flash. There is nothing anywhere. So we are very suspicious. And certainly because we are going to collect all the data so that it can be analyzed from a technical point of view and from all possible points of view, "he said.

Primera Hora insisted that the explanation did not make much sense and contrasted with the promise that there was a hurricane resistant system that he had made a month earlier.

Ortiz explained that the next system, which is expected to bring storm winds of around 40 to 50 miles per hour, could cause local breakdowns in some places.

“I already have brigades from tomorrow night, all morning from Wednesday to Thursday, to try to get them attended to as quickly as possible. We do not foresee events that cause destruction in the system that have days or weeks (without service). But the light can go out for some event of some ray, some branch that flies over some electrical line. That can happen, "said Ortiz.

Primera Hora also inquired whether he was referring to any possible sabotage with that suspicion. Ortiz replied that he could not affirm something like this.

“I am saying that all the angles will be evaluated. But until today, engineers dedicated to this did not find any problem. And only the one who could turn on the system immediately backwards, without making any arrangements, speaks, "he replied.

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