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GWU Study: 64 Direct Deaths in Puerto Rico Hurricane; not 2,975

Posted by FactReal on September 20, 2018

GWU STUDY DOESN’T SAY 3,000 PEOPLE DIED DUE TO HURRICANE MARIA IN PUERTO RICO

If you read the study done by the George Washington University (GWU) carefully, you’d find that:
1. There were 64 DIRECT DEATHS and not 2,975 deaths due to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
2. The 3,000 figure is an ESTIMATE based on a PREDICTION; not actual deaths.
3. The GWU uses “excess mortality” which is not the standard used for hurricanes.
4. The GWU mortality data is for 6 months – a much longer period than usual.
5. Did the GWU mortality estimate include the whole month of September 2017? (Remember, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2018)
6. Their GWU migration calculation of Puerto Ricans leaving their island was based on surveys…not actual records.
7. Why GWU did not publish their methodology? But they want us to trust them, because they say their study is “independent,” “rigorous,” and “sophisticated.”
8. Is GWU truly independent or unbiased? We know they proudly promote events with left-wing politicians (i.e., San Juan Mayor Cruz, Bill Clinton) [See photos below]
9. The GWU study found Puerto Rican forensic staff were doing things right with death certifications.
10. GWU recommends more financial resources ($$$$).

SUMMARY

After a hurricane, the standard has been to count DIRECT DEATHS, that is, deaths directly attributable to the hurricane. This standard is used by the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center.

The Puerto Rico government and forensic teams were following that standard. Therefore, they reported 64 direct deaths after Hurricane Maria.

But, then came GWU researchers who wanted to go beyond DIRECT DEATHS and stretched the number of deaths by using “excess deaths,” “predicted mortality,” and by extending the period to six months after the hurricane landfall.

The GWU used estimates and predictions instead of actual death certificates.

[Point-by-point analysis below]


ERRORS & ISSUES WITH THE GWU STUDY

1. THE GWU STUDY ACCEPTS THERE WERE 64 DIRECT DEATHS ATTRIBUTABLE TO HURRICANE MARIA
64 deaths was the official number published by the Puerto Rican government…before the GWU study.

Here GWU study acknowledges there were 64 direct deaths due to the hurricane (page 11):[1]

The official government estimate of 64 deaths from the hurricane is low primarily because the conventions used for causal attribution only allowed for classification of deaths attributable directly to the storm, e.g., those caused by structural collapse, flying debris, floods and drownings..

Counting DIRECT DEATHS has been the standard:
NBC-Miami Meteorologist John Morales (who was raised in Puerto Rico and his mother is Puerto Rican) explained:[2]

The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center count only direct deaths – those that can be attributed to the effects of the weather like flood drownings or flying debris… Emergency management agencies follow the same model, and their officials are normally the ones briefing the politicians. So the politicians are used to counting deaths just like the National Weather Service does.

2. THE 3,000 FIGURE IS JUST AN ESTIMATE AND NOT ACTUAL DEATHS attributed to Hurricane Maria
When the study and the media say “3,000 excess deaths”, people think that there were actually 3,000 people who died in Puerto Rico because of Maria. But that is misleading.

Three important words in the GWU study: ESTIMATE, EXCESS DEATHS, PREDICTED MORTALITY

a) Estimate: The title of the GWU study states it is an ESTIMATE: “Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.” The GWU used estimates instead of actual death certificates.

b) Excess Deaths and c) Predicted Mortality:
GWU calculated “excess” deaths (page i):[1]
“Our excess mortality study analyzed past mortality patterns (mortality registration and population census data from 2010 to 2017) in order to predict
the expected mortality if Hurricane María had not occurred (predicted mortality) and compare this figure to the actual deaths that occurred (observed mortality).The difference between those two numbers is the estimate of excess mortality due to the hurricane.”

The GWU study estimated “excess deaths” as 1,271 for the first two months, 2,098 for four months, and 2,975 deaths for six months after the storm. (page 9)[1]
Of course, the media did not report the 1,271 figure…they decided to report the most alarmist figure: 2,975 excess deaths.

“Results from the preferred statistical model, shown below, estimate that excess mortality due to Hurricane María using the displacement scenario is estimated at 1,271 excess deaths in September and October…, 2,098 excess deaths from September to December …, and, 2,975… excess deaths for the total study period of September 2017 through February 2018. Table 1 shows observed, predicted and excess mortality by month for the study period as well as the total study period.”

[tableOnly]GeorgeWashingtonUniversity-PuertoRicoDeathTollEstimate

The GWU study used “excess deaths” and not direct deaths. These are not actual deaths. These are just estimates of excess mortality and predicted mortality.

Why use estimates and predictions of expected mortalities when they had tangible proof: The death certificates and records of people who died?

About death certification, the GWU press release stated:[3]
“The team found error rates in death certificates that were within the norms. In fact, similar error rates in death certificates are found throughout the United States.”

In other sections of the study, the GWU attacks the people preparing death certificates in Puerto Rico. Do you think that after all these decades professionals in Puerto Rico (physicians, forensic personnel) do not know how to complete death certificates? Maybe the GWU wants to change the standards here too. [See points #3 and #10 below for more.]

3. WHY DID GWU USE “EXCESS MORTALITY” WHICH IS NOT THE STANDARD USED FOR HURRICANES
By using “excess deaths”, GWU added uncertainty to the mortality calculation.

Meteorologist John Morales explains “excess mortality” is not the standard:[2]

“Excess mortality studies are *not* done for all disasters, much less all hurricanes.”

“Excess mortality requires that the investigators look at deaths that are ‘possibly attributable to hurricanes’, as stated in the GW study.”

“Because excess mortality studies are not available for most hurricane disasters, there’s no way for us to compare what happened in regards to excess deaths in Puerto Rico to any other past disaster. It can’t be compared to other American landfalling hurricanes either because deaths in those were counted based on the customary methods used by the National Hurricane Center…” [i.e., direct deaths.]

GWU defined “excess mortality” (page 3):[1]

Excess deaths are deaths that exceed the regular death rate predicted for a given population (WHO 2018) had there not been a natural disaster or other unexpected or calamitous event, such as an epidemic or industrial accident (Geronimus et al 2004; Haentjens et al. 2010). [WHO = World Health Organization]

To estimate excess mortality associated with Hurricane María, it was necessary to develop counterfactual mortality estimates, or estimates of what mortality would have been expected to be had the disaster not occurred.

4. THE GWU MORTALITY DATA IS FOR 6 MONTHS AFTER THE HURRICANE – a much longer period than usual
On their press release dated Aug. 28, 2018[3], GWU stated their estimate of “mortality data [was] for six months from September 2017 through February 2018.”

Is that a new protocol when calculating deaths due to a hurricane?
Is that how loss of life (or property) from past storms have been calculated (6 months after the event)?

The Telegraph tries to provide a pretext:[4]

Researchers with George Washington said they counted deaths over the span of six months – a much longer period than usual – because so many people were without power during that time.

However, Puerto Rico had power problems long before the 2017 hurricanes. The local leaders, more than the federal government, failed to the Puerto Rican citizens. [Read the reports.]

If GWU used a different standard than what is customary (i.e., National Hurricane Center) then we cannot compare their findings with previous disasters. The GWU study and the media must make that distinction.

5. DOES THE GWU ESTIMATE INCLUDE THE WHOLE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER?
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Did the university include into their estimate the deaths that occurred the first weeks of September 2017?

The GWU study is titled “Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.” It should include only the deaths due to Maria and not Irma.

Why did they use an arbitrary end date of February 2018 for their study? Did the deaths suddenly stop in Feb. 2018? Why not July or September 2018? And, why not Oct. 2018?

6. THEIR MIGRATION DATA IS BASED ON SURVEYS…NOT ACTUAL RECORDS
GWU indicated that they factored the migration data (of people leaving Puerto Rico due to the hurricane) into their calculations. However, their migration data is based on airline surveys from a Puerto Rico institute and not actual travel data.

GWU study, page 4:[1]

Cumulative monthly population displacement after the storm in each month was estimated using Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) data on monthly net domestic migration provided by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics and a survey of airline travelers provided by the Puerto Rico Planning Board (Planning Board 2018).

The GWU team did not trust the Puerto Rican professionals handling the death certificates, but suddenly they trust airline surveys coming from other Puerto Rican institution.

7. GWU DID NOT PUBLISH THEIR METHODOLOGY BUT THEY WANT US TO TRUST THEM
We have to trust them because they say their study is “independent,” “rigorous,” and “sophisticated.”

They try to legitimize their report by using suggestive adjectives: “independent study,” “sophisticated mathematical model,” or “the most rigorous study of excess mortality due to the hurricane done to date.”

But where are the data? Where is the methodology?

Telegraph also wanted to know:[4]

For the study, the researchers reviewed mortality data from July 2010 to February 2018. They also took into account an 8 percent drop in Puerto Rico’s population in the six months after the storm, when tens of thousands fled because of the damage.

However, they did not share details of their methodology, saying those will be released if the study is published in a scientific journal.

“We did not cherry-pick, I can promise you,” Goldman [dean of the Milken institute] said. “We used very rigorous methodology.”

Data are not listed on their website as promised in their study (page 2):[1]
“For more details on the methodology,data and programs used in the excess mortality calculations,these will be made available online at: http:// prstudy.publichealth.gwu.edu/”

8. IS GWU INDEPENDENT AND UNBIASED?
We know they celebrate and proudly promote events with left-wing politicians like Bill Clinton[5] or San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz[6] (the new darling of the Left.)

PUERTORICO-YULIN-andGeorgeWashingtonUniversity

George Washington University proudly hosted socialist San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz in November 2017. The topic: “Importance of Honesty in Public Communications.”

CLINTONandGeorgeWashingtonUniv - Edited

George Washington University – Milken Institute SPH proudly hosts yearly events with liberal Bill Clinton.

9. GWU STUDY ACCEPTS PUERTO RICAN FORENSIC STAFF WERE DOING THINGS RIGHT
In some parts, the GWU researchers criticize the forensic teams in Puerto Rico but in other areas they acknowledge death certification errors were low.

Death certificates errors within the norms, indicated GWU press release of Aug. 28, 2018:[6]

The team found error rates in death certificates that were within the norms. In fact, similar error rates in death certificates are found throughout the United States.

GW study, page iii:[1]

Quality & Completeness of Death Certification:

“The [Puerto Rico Vital Statistics System ] PRVSR offices sustained damage and did not have power to operate for some time after the hurricane, and death registration was delayed. Nevertheless, based on our findings in the assessment of death certification quality, the disaster does not appear to have affected the completeness of the certificates.“

Timeliness 5 days from normal time:

“On timeliness, there was a statistically significant delay in the number of days between date of death and date of death registration, with an average of 17 days in the period after the hurricane compared to 12 days in the prior year.“

Garbage codes were low:
“Garbage codes refer to diagnoses that should not be considered as an underlying cause of death or assigning deaths to causes that are not useful,” indicates the GWU study, page 6.

Overall, there was a low percentage of garbage codes as the underlying cause of death and there appears to be no impact from the event on the percentage of codes that were mis-assigned. With respect to internal consistency, less than 1% of death certificates had medically inconsistent diagnoses in the underlying cause of death.

10. GWU RECOMMENDS MORE FINANCIAL RESOURCES($$$$) (Page 18):[1]

The federal government should support the implementation of this agenda and its financing. An executive order should be issued for an expansion of the regular operating budget to all organizations and especially the DoH, BFS, PRVSR.

SOURCES:
[1] Study by George Washington University (GWU) – Milken Institute School of Public Health titled,
“Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,”(PDF) (August 28, 2018)
#https://publichealth.gwu.edu/sites/default/files/downloads/projects/PRstudy/Acertainment%20of%20the%20Estimated%
20Excess%20Mortality%20from%20Hurricane%20Maria%20in%20Puerto%20Rico.pdf

[2] John Morales: Many Are Misreporting Hurricane Maria’s Death Toll. Here’s the Messy Reality (August 28, 2018)
#https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/On-the-Reported-Death-Toll-of-Hurricane-Maria-in-Puerto-Rico-491951441.html

[3] GWU press release (August 28, 2018)
#https://publichealth.gwu.edu/content/gw-report-delivers-recommendations-aimed-preparing-puerto-rico-hurricane-season

[4] UK Telegraph: Puerto Rico revises Hurricane Maria death toll from 64 to almost 3,000 (Aug. 29, 2018)
#https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/29/puerto-rico-revises-hurricane-maria-death-toll-64-almost-3000/

[5] QuickNewsVault: Bill Clinton promoted by George Washington University
https://quicknewsvault.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/bill-clinton-promoted-by-george-washington-university/

[6] QuickNewsVault: PR Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz at George Washington University – Nov. 2017
https://quicknewsvault.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/pr-mayor-carmen-yulin-cruz-at-george-washington-university-nov-2017/

[7] Home page for the GWU study, press releases:
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW Milken Institute SPH)
#https://prstudy.publichealth.gwu.edu/

[8] LIST: Puerto Rico was a Disaster long before Hurricane Maria (Liberal Media Sources)

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LIST: Puerto Rico was a Disaster long before Hurricane Maria (Liberal Media Sources)

Posted by FactReal on September 20, 2018

FROM LIBERAL SOURCES:
– ABC NEWS 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico Power Grid Falling Apart before Maria Hit
– REUTERS 2017 (Trump is Right): The Bankrupt Utility behind Puerto Rico’s Power Crisis … before Hurricane Maria
– WASHINGTON POST 2017 (Trump is Right): Hurricane Maria’s Blow to Puerto Rico’s Bankrupt Utility and Fragile Electric Grid
– LA TIMES 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico’s Power Grid on Life Support long before the 2017 Hurricanes
– CNBC 2015 (Trump is Right): Infrastructure: Another problem Puerto Rico doesn’t need

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#The Atlantic 2016 (Don’t Blame Trump): Puerto Rico’s Disaster Started Years before Hurricanes Maria & Irma

Posted by FactReal on September 14, 2018

PUERTO RICO WAS IN CRISIS LONG BEFORE THE 2017 HURRICANES…and before Trump became President

In May 2016, the left-wing publication The Atlantic sounded the alarm of the impending humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico…over a year before Hurricane Maria hit the island. Their article was titled “Will Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Spark a Humanitarian Disaster?”[1].

Summary by Bradley Blakeman at The Hill[2]:

In May 2016, just more than a year before Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the Atlantic published an article alleging that even without damages caused by hurricanes or storms Puerto Rico was heading for crisis with a huge human toll of man-made causes. Reporter Vann Newkirk cited the electric grid on the brink of collapse and schools with dangerous wiring and unstable construction. He also wrote about the island’s public health and its inferior healthcare facilities, noting that San Juan’s Centro Medico Hospital had to delay payments on debt to provide basic healthcare to patients. The medical director was quoted as saying, “We are hanging by a thread.”

It is important to understand that Puerto Rico was destined for humanitarian crisis and was in crisis long before Hurricane Maria.

FactReal’s Summary:
In May 2016, The Atlantic[1] described the precarious situation in Puerto Rico while covering the visit to the island by Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
At the San Juan’s Centro Medico hospital:

  • Administrators detailed both delayed funding from insurers and government sources, and how the hospital had to delay and prioritize payments to provide basic care for its patients. “We are hanging by a thread,” said Dr. Juan Nazario, executive director of the hospital. “Other things are left aside.”
  • It is difficult to remain solvent while providing affordable care for poorer populations.
  • Most of Puerto Rico’s residents are enrolled in Medicaid or other public insurance programs.
  • The Puerto Rican government is limited in its ability to pay for services and drugs that insurers don’t pick up or don’t pay for on time. These medical problems are compounded by the fact that the debt crisis itself is centered on Puerto Rico’s massive public-services providers, and as things have gotten worse, many hospitals have faced electricity or water shortages. Even the massive Centro Medico may not be safe from rolling blackouts if the territory continues to default.
  • The hospital’s youngest victims are suffering now… Dr. Marta Suarez, a pediatric nephrologist, explained how the hospital’s payment difficulties make it difficult to provide dialysis to combat neonatal kidney failure, a common danger of early infancy. “Suppliers have been waiting for payments for months and months,” she told Lew. “We hope we don’t get a complicated case.”
  • Zika threatens to cripple Puerto Rico, and the debt crisis and its inability to pay for immediate interventions are direct factors in the looming epidemic.
  • Hospitals are already overwhelmed with the different issues that Centro Medico physicians detailed, and they can barely cope with seasonal flu outbreaks, let alone a developing and little-known virus like Zika.
  • Schools such as Eleanor Roosevelt, with their crumbling infrastructure and pools of standing water, are ideal breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that spread Zika, and children are especially vulnerable targets. In the realms of health care and education, economic woes are most directly transfigured into human misery.

At the Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary:

  • Classroom had only one electrical outlet. Trying to run multiple devices––such as a television, air conditioner, or a fan––would trip the breaker. If multiple classrooms try using electricity together would cause the whole building’s power to fail.
  • Cracks in the wall.
  • Broken fans in the room.
  • Lack of basic science resources.
  • Some special-education services are delivered in a trailer with limited electricity.
  • Enrollment for special-needs children has increased, even while teachers equipped to instruct them have moved away.
  • School with its termite-riddled walls, tenuous electricity, and pools of standing water––perfect places for the mosquitoes that spread Zika to hide

Part of The Atlantic article of May 2016[1]: [Emphasis added]

Will Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Spark a Humanitarian Disaster?
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s trip to Puerto Rico highlights the human costs lurking behind every financial crisis.

VANN R. NEWKIRK II
MAY 13, 2016

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –– Elizabeth Claudio pointed to the lone outlet in the wall of her classroom of fourth graders. She complained to [then] Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla that it was the class’s only outlet and that running multiple devices––such as a television, air conditioner, or a fan––would trip the breaker and that multiple classrooms using electricity together would cause the whole building’s power to fail. She pointed to the cracks in the wall and the broken fans in the room, which already sweltered in early May as the humidity settled in like a blanket over an 83-degree day.

[Obama’s] Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew…was here to assess just what might happen if Puerto Rico’s debt crisis blooms into a full-on disaster.

The debt crisis in Puerto Rico has been discussed mostly in terms of its dire economic outlook, with wide-reaching consequences from potential defaults, including destabilized municipal-bond markets and litigation. The fallout could spread to the mainland, and it has already impacted the economy of states like Florida as a factor in mass emigration. […]

…García Padilla [had] no choice but to default on a $200 million payment of debts on May 2. That default has already weakened public services and utilities on the island, and another payment date of July 1 is even more ominous, with almost $2 billion at stake. […]

Unfortunately for the people of Puerto Rico, the debt crisis is just part of a long string of bad news. The commonwealth was poor long before the debt crisis, poorer than every state in both the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Despite historically and currently having high rates of coverage by public insurance, Puerto Rico sits near the bottom of many health metrics, and its Medicaid and Medicare programs are vastly underfunded compared with the States, costing the island millions of dollars. Healthy young people are emigrating from Puerto Rico in search of jobs, leaving behind disabled people, elderly people, and children. But the worst is yet to come. If things have been downhill recently, the potential July default represents a steep drop into a wide chasm, one that could have reverberating effects on how people on the island live.

[At the Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary,] Deborah Cruz teaches fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in one room and told Lew about the cracked walls and lack of basic science resources, such as test tubes. Special-education teacher Iris Rosario said there are almost 100 students who need special-education services at Eleanor Roosevelt, and some special-education services are delivered in a trailer with limited electricity. Rosario also described how enrollment for special-needs children has increased, even while teachers equipped to instruct them have moved away.

Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary is not an abstract idea in a debate between congresspersons across the Caribbean Sea, nor is it some far-off disaster in the making. The school, with its termite-riddled walls, tenuous electricity, and pools of standing water––perfect places for the mosquitoes that spread Zika to hide––is a real, current example of the humanitarian implications of Puerto Rico’s crumbling economy. “The human cost is not abstract,” Lew said after the visit. “At the school, we could see infrastructure that’s crumbling.”

Lew’s next visit to San Juan’s Centro Medico hospital laid bare the human costs even more. Administrators detailed both delayed funding from insurers and government sources, and how the hospital had to delay and prioritize payments to provide basic care for its patients. “We are hanging by a thread,” said Dr. Juan Nazario, executive director of the hospital. “Other things are left aside.”

Centro Medico’s plight is similar to those of many vulnerable safety-net hospitals on the mainland—but amplified. Simply put, it is difficult to remain solvent while providing affordable care for poorer populations and people of color, who tend to be the sickest and the least likely to have insurance. That problem becomes a predicament in itself in an entire commonwealth with so many poor people and people of color. While most of Puerto Rico’s residents are enrolled in Medicaid or other public insurance programs, the federal government has traditionally underpaid for each Puerto Rican enrollee as compared with those living in the States.

[T]he Puerto Rican government is limited in its ability to pay for services and drugs that insurers don’t pick up or don’t pay for on time. These medical problems are compounded by the fact that the debt crisis itself is centered on Puerto Rico’s massive public-services providers, and as things have gotten worse, many hospitals have faced electricity or water shortages. Even the massive Centro Medico may not be safe from rolling blackouts if the territory continues to default.

Even before any future potential defaults, the hospital’s youngest victims are suffering now… Dr. Marta Suarez, a pediatric nephrologist, explained how the hospital’s payment difficulties make it difficult to provide dialysis to combat neonatal kidney failure, a common danger of early infancy. “Suppliers have been waiting for payments for months and months,” she told Lew. “We hope we don’t get a complicated case.” … After his tour of Centro Medico, Lew [said] “The mounting debt crisis is clearly a financing problem …[and] it’s a human crisis as well.”

Zika threatens to cripple Puerto Rico, and the debt crisis and its inability to pay for immediate interventions are direct factors in the looming epidemic. Hospitals are already overwhelmed with the different issues that Centro Medico physicians detailed, and they can barely cope with seasonal flu outbreaks, let alone a developing and little-known virus like Zika. Schools such as Eleanor Roosevelt, with their crumbling infrastructure and pools of standing water, are ideal breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that spread Zika, and children are especially vulnerable targets. In the realms of health care and education, economic woes are most directly transfigured into human misery.

SOURCES:
[1] The Atlantic: Will Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Spark a Humanitarian Disaster? (MAY 13, 2016)
#https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/puerto-rico-treasury-visit/482562/
[2] The Hill: Puerto Rico was a disaster long before Maria ravaged the island (10/03/17)
#http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/353506-puerto-rico-was-a-disaster-long-before-maria-ravaged-the-island

RELATED:
ABC NEWS 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico Power Grid Falling Apart before Maria Hit
REUTERS 2017 (Trump is Right): The Bankrupt Utility behind Puerto Rico’s Power Crisis … before Hurricane Maria
WASHINGTON POST 2017 (Trump is Right): Hurricane Maria’s Blow to Puerto Rico’s Bankrupt Utility and Fragile Electric Grid
LA TIMES 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico’s Power Grid on Life Support long before the 2017 Hurricanes
CNBC 2015 (Trump is Right): Infrastructure: Another problem Puerto Rico doesn’t need

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*CNBC 2015 (Trump is Right): Infrastructure: Another problem Puerto Rico doesn’t need

Posted by FactReal on September 13, 2018

In 2015, two years before Hurricanes Maria and Irma, CNBC discussed how the precarious state of the Puerto Rican infrastructure and utilities stemmed from lack of maintenance and poor management (high costs, massive debts). That is what President Trump has been talking about.

Here is part of the 2015 CNBC report[1]: [Emphasis added]

Infrastructure: Another problem Puerto Rico doesn’t need
Fred Imbert
Published 11:11 AM ET Mon, 3 Aug 2015 Updated 1:47 PM ET Mon, 3 Aug 2015

Puerto Rico, already hobbled by massive debts, is being weighed down by an outdated infrastructure that’s increasing the cost of doing business on the island.

According to Numbeo, a database of user-contributed information on consumer prices and other statistics, the average monthly cost for utilities in Puerto Rico is $234.81, considerably higher than the overall U.S. average of $159.21.

“The real problem here is the lack of maintenance of our infrastructure,” said Heidie Calero, president and CEO of H. Calero Consulting Group, a San Juan-based firm that works on business and economic issues.

[…]

Nevertheless, Puerto Rico faces challenges with regard to its electric and water utilities that other U.S. jurisdictions don’t face, while at the same time dealing with approximately $72 billion in debts.

According to the Energy Information Administration, about 55 percent of Puerto Rico’s electricity came from petroleum in 2013, making the delivery of power considerably more expensive than if it came from coal (where most of U.S. electricity comes from) or natural gas.

“High world-petroleum prices have driven typical Puerto Rico power prices to two to three times the U.S. average,” the EIA said.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority [PREPA] is …$9 billion in debt and the island’s struggling economy have led it to consider ways to reduce costs.

SOURCE:
[1] CNBC: Infrastructure: Another problem Puerto Rico doesn’t need (Aug. 3, 2015)
#https://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/03/infrastructure-another-problem-puerto-rico-doesnt-need.html

RELATED:
ABC NEWS 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico Power Grid Falling Apart before Maria Hit
REUTERS 2017 (Trump is Right): The Bankrupt Utility behind Puerto Rico’s Power Crisis … before Hurricane Maria
WASHINGTON POST 2017 (Trump is Right): Hurricane Maria’s Blow to Puerto Rico’s Bankrupt Utility and Fragile Electric Grid
LA TIMES 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico’s Power Grid on Life Support long before the 2017 Hurricanes

Posted in Energy, Puerto Rico, Trump | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

*LA TIMES 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico’s Power Grid on Life Support long before the 2017 Hurricanes

Posted by FactReal on September 13, 2018

A 2017 Los Angeles Times[1] report provides evidence to Trump’s comments that Puerto Rico’s power grid was “poorly maintained, corruptly managed.”

The island’s faltering electrical grid, now crippled by the twin blows of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma, already was struggling to keep the lights on after a history of poor maintenance, poorly trained staff, allegations of corruption and crushing debt.

As recently as 2016, the island suffered a three-day, island-wide blackout as a result of a fire. A private energy consultant noted then that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority “appears to be running on fumes, and … desperately requires an infusion of capital — monetary, human and intellectual — to restore a functional utility.”

Puerto Ricans in early 2016 were suffering power outages at rates four to five times higher than average U.S. customers, said the report from the Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics. […]

Restoring Puerto Rico’s power will involve much more than replacing downed poles and cables. The entire system of generation, transmission and distribution must be rebuilt, including replacement of high-voltage transmission lines Hyland said.

[…]

The warnings about impending electricity problems that were issued even before Hurricane Maria hit stemmed from the island’s long history of power outages and the lack of substantial refurbishing and maintenance.

Hurricane Georges in 1998 left the island without power for three weeks. The tropical storm destroyed 30,000 houses and damaged at least another 60,000.

[…]

Problems accumulated. Cutbacks in tree pruning left the 16,000 miles of primary power lines spread across the island vulnerable. Inspections, maintenance and repairs were scaled back. Up to 30% of the utility’s employees retired or migrated to the U.S. mainland, analysts said, and the utility had trouble hiring experienced employees to replace them.

…continue reading:
LA Times: Puerto Rico’s power grid on life support long before Hurricane Maria – report 9/28/2017

SOURCE:
[1] Puerto Rico’s debt-plagued power grid was on life support long before hurricanes wiped it out (September 28, 2017)
#http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-puerto-rico-power-20170925-story.html

RELATED:
Reuters 2017 (Trump is Right): The Bankrupt Utility behind Puerto Rico’s Power Crisis … before Hurricane Maria
ABC NEWS 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico Power Grid Falling Apart before Maria Hit
Washington Post 2017 (Trump is Right): Hurricane Maria’s Blow to Puerto Rico’s Bankrupt Utility and Fragile Electric Grid

Posted in Energy, Puerto Rico, Trump | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

*Washington Post 2017 (Trump is Right): Hurricane Maria’s Blow to Puerto Rico’s Bankrupt Utility and Fragile Electric Grid

Posted by FactReal on September 13, 2018

In September 2017, the Washington Post reported on Puerto Rico’s bankrupt utility company, old power plants, poor maintenance, exodus of skilled labor and its fragile electric grid…long before the 2017 hurricanes.

Here are some highlights of their report[1]:

Hurricane Maria has dealt a new blow to Puerto Rico’s bankrupt electric company — knocking out power for the entire island and imposing costly repair burdens on a utility that was already struggling with more than $9 billion in debt, poor service and sky-high rates.

[…]

Even before it was hit by Irma and now Maria, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority [PREPA] said it needed more than $4 billion to overhaul its outdated power plants and reduce its heavy reliance on imported oil. The company filed, in effect, for bankruptcy July 2.

[…]

The utility’s struggles are a key part of the commonwealth’s struggles to restructure about $74 billion in debts, overhaul its economy and stem the outflow of Puerto Rican citizens to the U.S. mainland.

[…]

….The median age of PREPA’s power plants is more than 40 years old.

[…]

PREPA has also lost 30 percent of its employees since 2012 due to steady migration out of the commonwealth and retirements. The areas hit hardest have been skilled jobs, including the linemen needed to repair transmission lines.

[….]

The utility has a poor safety record. An explosion last year knocked out power in many places for four days. Newspapers run photos of poor maintenance, rusting control panels and outmoded controls.

…continue reading:
WAPO 2017: Puerto Rico’s bankrupt utility and fragile electric grid before Hurricane Maria – report 9/20/2017

SOURCES:
[1] Hurricane Maria has dealt a heavy blow to Puerto Rico’s bankrupt utility and fragile electric grid
#https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/09/20/puerto-ricos-power-company-was-already-bankrupt-then-hurricane-maria-hit/?utm_term=.d1ac8058ff23

RELATED:
REUTERS 2017 (Trump is Right): The Bankrupt Utility behind Puerto Rico’s Power Crisis … before Hurricane Maria
ABC NEWS 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico Power Grid Falling Apart before Maria Hit
LA TIMES 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico’s Power Grid on Life Support long before the 2017 Hurricanes

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