Title: Voltage Fluctuations Leave Puerto Rican Residents with Damaged Electrical Equipment
Subtitle: Lack of stable electricity supply leads to an increase in complaints and repair requests
Voltage fluctuations and breakdowns in Puerto Rico’s energy system have become a routine occurrence due to generation issues and operational deficiencies in the network. The intermittent electricity service has left over 120,000 customers without power in the past week, prompting complaints on social media and pleas for help from legislators. In addition to the inconvenience caused by blackouts, subscribers are now facing another problem: damaged electrical equipment. This article examines the impact of voltage fluctuations on household appliances and the increasing demand for repair services.
Losses and Complaints:
Citizens who have experienced power fluctuations have suffered significant losses, including damaged refrigerators, fans, ovens, microwaves, and televisions. The newspaper, THE SPOKESMAN, has received emails from affected individuals, such as Orlando Figueroa, who lost his refrigerator due to the intermittent power. Victims are questioning who will compensate them for the damages.
Demand for Repair Services:
The constant voltage fluctuations have resulted in a surge in calls to refrigeration technicians and electrician experts as consumers seek assistance in repairing household appliances and addressing low voltage issues. The president of the College of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians, Jeremías Santana, noted that citizens are reaching out to install, repair, and maintain their appliances due to voltage fluctuations in the midst of a heatwave. Electrician experts and refrigeration technicians are struggling to cope with the high demand for their services.
Lack of Control and Damaged Belongings:
The president of the College of Electrician Experts, Frances Berríos, explained that low voltage situations are beyond their control and are managed by the power supply company. This lack of control has led to equipment damage, as devices are not designed to withstand significant voltage fluctuations. Concerns have been raised about the responsibility of LUMA Energy, the power distribution company, regarding compensation for damaged belongings. Representative José Hernández Concepción stated that he has not come across anyone who has been reimbursed by LUMA for their losses.
LUMA’s Response and Legislative Action:
During a public hearing, LUMA was questioned about the claims for damaged goods. Noriette Figueroa, director of Customer Experience at LUMA, explained that customers can file complaints, but the decision to provide a refund or compensation lies with the risk management department. The president of the Chamber’s Energy Commission, Luis Raúl Torres, has given LUMA until a specific deadline to provide information on claims, resolved cases, and reimbursement processes. Torres also raised concerns about unlicensed engineers working at LUMA and addressed cases in which homes burned down due to power fluctuations.
Filing Claims and Consumer Protection:
Customers have one year to file a claim for damaged goods. Hannia Rivera, executive director of the Independent Office for Consumer Protection (OIPC), advised clients to visit the nearest LUMA office and complete the necessary documentation, including an explanatory letter and a form provided by LUMA. Customers must also provide the original receipt or invoice for the damages. LUMA has 90 days to issue a determination once the documents have been submitted. The OIPC has called for legislative action to refine the claims process and ensure adequate protection for consumers.
LUMA’s Commitment and Customer Service:
LUMA responded to the claims, stating that their team is working diligently to improve services and address voltage fluctuations. They have trained customer service representatives available to assist customers reporting voltage problems at service centers or via phone or website. Customers are encouraged to seek more information or assistance from LUMA’s customer service channels.
The ongoing voltage fluctuations and breakdowns in Puerto Rico’s energy system are not only causing inconvenience through blackouts but also damaging electrical equipment. Citizens have voiced their complaints and are seeking compensation for their losses. The demand for repair services has reached unprecedented levels, with technicians struggling to meet the increasing requests. The response from LUMA, the power distribution company, has been questioned, leading to calls for greater accountability and improvements in the claims process to protect consumers.