After 112 days of no electricity since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, some of its residents breathed a sigh of relief this week when their power was finally restored to their homes, schools and businesses.
If you can’t imagine the jubilation, just take a look at the ABC footage below:
Teachers and students at a school in Puerto Rico jump for joy after the school gets electricity back for the first time in the 112 days since Hurricane Maria struck. https://t.co/3wCH5JEpP3 pic.twitter.com/2PTDb4kHtp
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 17, 2018
However, according to The Intercept, the jubilation could have been experienced throughout the territory sooner had it not been for corruption and incompetence within the Puerto Rican government.
Yes, federal government officials have learned that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), a state-owned corporation operated by the territory’s government had been hoarding “a massive store of rebuilding materials” needed to restore the electrical grid.
Upon receipt of this information, on January 6 federal agents raided PREPA’s warehouses with a security detail and “began distributing (supplies) to contractors,” according to 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,” Vera added.
Allegedly, the timing of this information and the subsequent encounter occurred while roughly 50 percent of Puerto Ricans still remained without electricity. But as the Washington Examiner reported this week, the restoration quickly sped up from there, as “83 percent of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority customers (had) power” by Wednesday.
Nevertheless, while The Intercept reported about PREPA’s ridiculous hoarding activities, it also pointed out something much worse in regards to the current Puerto Rican government and its intentions. Apparently, it “is attempting to annihilate the power provider’s only regulator.”
“When the current administration was in the opposition, they opposed all the energy reform bills,” said former Puerto Rico state Sen. Ramón Luis Nieves. “Now that they are in power, they have been trying to eliminate the energy regulator and the reforms that were passed.”
Sounds pretty dysfunctional and despicable if you ask me.