San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 16, 2021 – Today, LUMA released its first quarterly report for the fiscal year 2022 to the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority (P3 Authority) and the Puerto Rico Energy Board (PREB). The report provides an accounting of operations of transmission and distribution for the quarterly period ending on September 30, 2021 and details an array of initial and unexpected challenges, overall system improvements, changes and improvements to customer service, operational and management updates, and newly approved infrastructure projects for the transmission and distribution system in Puerto Rico.
“As our first quarterly report makes clear, we are committed to being very clear with our regulators and the Puerto Rican people we are privileged to serve about the challenges we face and the significant progress underway to improve the energy system,” said LUMA Chief Executive Officer Wayne Stensby. “While there is much work to do, we have taken significant actions to improve across every facet of operations. Looking ahead, we will continue to be inspired by our customers who we hear from every day and who urge us to move forward, to improve on what was here for us, and to continue making progress every single day.”
Since taking over the operations of the transmission and distribution system in June of 2021, LUMA’s 3,000-strong workforce have taken a series of actions to improve the energy grid, customer service, emergency response, and establish strong foundation with which to build a more reliable, more resilient and cleaner energy system for the Puerto Rican people.
Among the key improvements made to infrastructure, as well as across operations and management include the following:
- Launching multiple new channels of communication for customers, including a new website, mobile device application and social media channels.
- Reopening all 25 customer service centers located in communities across Puerto Rico and assisting more than 492,000 customers during the quarter.
- Answering a total of 590,985 calls, a 39% increase over PREPA’s calls answered from the same period in 2020.
- Partnering with several funding agencies, including Departamento de la Familia and Vivienda, to ensure customers have access to and are educated on the various financial relief programs available to them.
- Improving safety by materially reducing injury rates – recordable injury rate of 2.40 compared to PREPA baseline of 6.90 and a Severity Rate of 13.16 compared to PREPA baseline of 50.84, representing 65%, and 74% improvements in safety statistics, respectively.
- Activating Net Energy Metering (NEM) service for nearly 7,500 solar customers.
- Replacing approximately 1,070 poles and repaired and energized three substations.
- Putting in service 1,200 new or repaired vehicles, fully compliant with transportation and safety requirements for electric utility service.
- Clearing 139 substations of weeds and vegetation, including removal and disposal of approximately 455,000 pounds of scrap metal, 162,000 pounds of aluminum, 35,000 pounds of copper and 42,000 pounds of old streetlight heads and millions of gallons of trash and debris.
- Securing approval for 65 projects representing $2.8 billion of work.
- Conducting health and safety training for hundreds of new LUMA co-workers; and
- Graduating the first class of Puerto Rican lineworkers from the LUMA College for Technical Training bringing world-class training and development for the technical trades.
LUMA’s Q1 budget is consistent with LUMA’s 2022 forecast budget, generally increasing throughout the year for operating and capital expenditures. LUMA did report higher than projected operating expenditures associated with improvements to safety and operational training for new workers, as well as safety training and upgrading skills for the existing labor force. In the interests of public and worker safety, LUMA took a series of proactive actions to augment the workforce with trained and qualified temporary workers, and to improve the nature and scope of training required to prevent safety incidents.
“We are deeply committed to recruiting, training and building the best Puerto Rican workforce so they can do the difficult job of building a world-class energy system for more than 1.5 million customers and their families,” said Stensby. “Through partnership with our customers, regulators and the P3 Authority we will learn from the mistakes of the past and build an energy system that Puerto Ricans can be proud of.”
The report also highlights the importance of working cooperatively and in partnership with regulators and the P3 Authority to overcome a series of challenges that LUMA has confronted during the transition and achieve what the Puerto Ricans deserve and expect – an energy system and an energy provider that they can trust and depend on.
In the interests of transparency, the first quarterly report highlights a series of significant challenges that LUMA confronted since the transition. Among the challenges which the LUMA team have had to address included the following:
- Several hundreds of non-functioning electrical assets and equipment, including 29 non-functioning substations, creating serious overloading of circuits and damage to equipment.
- Broad and significant call center & Customer Care & Billing System (CC&B) limitations.
- Marginal operability of the Outage Management System.
- Isolated and inaccurate Asset Management system in the midst of an uncompleted upgrade at the commencement date.
- A lack of documentation of current processes and procedures.
- No material advancement of engineering on federally funded projects; and
- Critically, insufficient technical and safety training of field employees that represented a direct danger to current operations.
LUMA is continuing to make progress everyday building a more reliable and cleaner energy system for Puerto Rico and the 1.5 million Puerto Rican customers we are privileged to serve.