Puerto Rico Endures Country-Wide Blackout

20 April, 2018, 01:06 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Attached Image Josh Tomlin

A driver drives a vehicle along the street after Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the island's power company, said on Wednesday that a major power line failure in southern Puerto Rico cut electricity to nearly all customers, in San Juan, Puerto Rico April 18, 2018.

Puerto Rico is hosting more than 100 daily flights from 28 airlines, more than 200,000 passengers have embarked on ships at the San Juan homeport since October and 87 percent of the island's hotel inventory is open and accepting guests, said PRTC officials.

PREPA said on Twitter that several power plants were back in service, including units at Central Aguirre, EcoElectrica, Central Costa Sur, Yabucoa and Palo Seco.

Justo González, an executive deputy director of the power authority, said Wednesday that the blackout was caused by a private contractor when a bulldozer downed a transmission line while trying to remove a collapsed tower.

Puerto Rico's legislators are now debating whether to privatize the island's power authority, which is $14 in debt.

An island-wide blackout has struck Puerto Rico, plunging the US territory of more than 3 million citizens back into darkness more than seven months after local and federal officials began working to restore a fragile power grid demolished by Hurricane Maria.


The power authority said heavy equipment workers triggered the outage when the fallen tower they were removing got too close to a high-power transmission line. More than 41,000 customers have not had their power restored seven months after the Hurricane Maria.

An excavator operated by D. Grimm, a subcontractor for Cobra Acquisitions LLC, caused this week's blackout, according to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).

The entire island of Puerto Rico lost power on Wednesday. "It has caused 3.4 billion lost customer-hours in Puerto Rico - more than in the rest of the United States over the past five years".

"This is all very worrisome, obviously, as we approach another hurricane season", said Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told USA Today.

The blackout comes as Puerto Rico legislators debate whether to private the island's Electric Power Authority, which is $14 billion in debt and relies on infrastructure almost three times older than the industry average. He said the union is investigating why a breaker at a main power station in the island's southern region did not function when the outage occurred. It is the second major outage in less than a week, with the previous one affecting some 840,000 customers.

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