Finally, some Puerto Ricans were jumping for joy with getting power back after being without it for 112 days after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
What has taken so long? The horrible corrupt nature and incompetence of the local system.
And the federal government found the proof and busted the people who were behind holding up some of the aid.
According to The Intercept, federal government officials learned that “a massive store of rebuilding materials” needed to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was being hoarded by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, a state-owned corporation operated by the territory’s government.
Armed with this information, federal agents then raided PREPA’s warehouses on Jan. 6 with a security detail and thereafter “began distributing (supplies) to contractors,” confirmed USACE spokesman Luciano Vera.
“Among the materials recovered so far are ‘2,875 pieces of critical material to contractors’ along with the sleeves of full-tension steel, a component of Puerto Rican electrical infrastructure required to erect new power lines,” The Intercept reported, quoting Vera.
Is there any wonder that the aid is not getting through to the people? And the hoarding was causing a critical stoppage.
From The Intercept:
A security contractor who recently returned from Puerto Rico told The Intercept that crews of linemen brought down from the U.S. were frustrated about the lack of rebuilding materials, which made it virtually impossible for them to fix downed infrastructure. Paraphrasing conversations with the electric crews he accompanied, the source said one worker told him that “we just sat in the truck and watched a movie because we have nothing to do today. … Around Christmas, a lot of the power workers were saying, ‘We’re going on vacation because we couldn’t do our job because PREPA was making it so difficult.’” The source’s job involved escorting contractors tasked with reconstructing downed power lines; he was deployed on the island for over a month by a subcontractor of Cobra Acquisitions LLC, which in the fall received a $200 million contract with PREPA to repair its grid.
The bust enabled the material to be distributed to the contractors and has sped the return of electricity.
Now fast forward to Wednesday, when the power finally came back to 83% of PREPA customers.
Students and teachers at the Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo in San Juan actually cried with joy to have the power back.