June 29, 2022

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Power Remains Out for Nearly Half a Million Customers in Puerto Rico

2 min read

A day after an islandwide power failure struck Puerto Rico, in the latest breakdown of a perennially troubled electrical grid, nearly half a million customers remained in the dark Thursday night.

Power was being slowly restored, but more than 470,000 customers continued to lack electricity, out of a total of more than 1.4 million customers, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks power interruptions.

For Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million people, the islandwide loss of power was a frustrating continuation of hardships brought by an unreliable electric grid. The problems have persisted even after a private Canadian-American consortium, Luma, took over electricity transmission and distribution from Puerto Rico’s public utility last June with a pledge to reduce the frequency of outages.

Luma said in an announcement on Thursday that “the energy grid has suffered a massive island wide outage, potentially caused by a failed circuit breaker at Costa Sur power plant.” The facility produces the most electricity on the island.

Video footage circulating on social media showed a fire burning at one of the power substations in Costa Sur, on the island’s southeastern coast. The exact cause of the power failure, which occurred after 8 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, remained under investigation, Luma said in a statement Thursday. The company said there was “extensive damage” to the facility.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, tweeted an image of the charred substation on Thursday, showing some of its components to be completely blackened.

Luma is “not in position to provide an estimate of full restoration at this time,” the company said in a statement Thursday afternoon. Efforts to restore power would continue into Friday, it said.

Public school was canceled on Thursday, and some government agencies paused their usual operations. An estimated 182,000 water and sewer customers — around 10 percent — were also without water on Thursday as a result of…

Christine Chung

2022-04-08 01:15:46

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