Power restored to many Puerto Ricans after Wednesday blackout on island still reeling from hurricanes
By 7 AM Thursday, power was restored to most of Puerto Rico after a snafu on Wednesday caused a full island blackout. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) said 1.1 million of the authority’s 1.47 million customers regained power by this morning, as Vox reported.
“We expect that our previously energized clients will have service in approximately 24 hours,” PREPA deputy executive director Justo González Torres wrote in a press release. “If a major complication arises, this period may be extended up to 36 hours.”
This week’s outage is Puerto Rico’s second in a six-month post-Hurricane Maria recovery history. On Wednesday, a bulldozer struck a power line during an attempt to remove a collapsed transmission tower. The contact blackened the island.
That affected line way key because it carried electricity northward to the island’s load centers. Multiple reports attribute the mishap to D. Grimm, a subcontractor for Cobra Energy. The subcontractor secured a $200 million contract in exchange for repairing the power grid, an agreement lawmakers scrutinized because the companies involved had little experience with fixing grids on a large scale.
What could seem like minor inconveniences highlight continued vulnerability for Americans in Puerto Rico. Just last week, a fallen tree wiped out power for more than 840,000 people. Since September, more than 60,000 “customers” have not had power. Because the term “customers” often include families, the exact number of people living without electricity in Puerto Rico is difficult to calculate.
While Puerto Rican natives did without power, PREPA restored connections for San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians played a Major League Baseball game there.