Power restored for most of Puerto Rico after huge blackout

The Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority said more than 1.1 million of its clients got their power back after Wednesday's blackout, which came nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria struck.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority says electricity has been restored to all 840,000 customers affected by a large power outage in the U.S. territory.

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 estimated on Wednesday that it would take 24 to 36 hours to restore service to all customers that had power before Wednesday's blackout.

The outage marked the first time Puerto Rico was hit by an island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria struck on September 20 and wiped out as much as 75 percent of the power distribution lines.

"This is too much", said Luis Oscar Rivera, a 42-year-old computer technician who just got normal power back at his house less than two months ago.

The same company, D. Grimm, was also responsible for last week's outage that affected 870,000 customers after a tree fell on a major electric transmission line.

Officials said restoring power to hospitals, airports, banking centers and water pumping systems was their priority. "This is another example of why Puerto Rico's energy infrastructure needs to incorporate new forms of power". He said Tesla already did similar work on smaller islands. The origin stemmed from an excavator's connection with a power line that caused the major electrical blowout.

Arty Straehla, Mammoth's Chief Executive Officer, said in a February 28 statement, "Our team in Puerto Rico is executing at a high level".

Prior to the blackout on the USA territory of 3.3 million people, more than 44,000 customers were still without normal electric service lost with Hurricane Maria.

Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of the capital of San Juan, said the outage would not interrupt the last of a two-game series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins, which is being played on the island. This led to an electrical ground fault that caused the outage of the transmission circuit that caused the island-wide blackout.

"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.

Hurricane Maria's magnitude still ripples throughout Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Army's top engineer said in February that their role was never to completely rebuild the power system.

  • Delores Daniels