Puerto Rico power outage twitter today, Massive blackout in Puerto Rico leaves the country without power

At least 1.2 million power customers in Puerto Rico were without power Thursday afternoon after an overnight fire at a major power plant caused the largest blackout in the nation this year, forcing Puerto Rico to cancel classes and close government offices.

The power outage has angered Puerto Ricans, who were already frustrated with the power system devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Emergency repairs were carried out at the time, but reconstruction and basic work to modernize the island’s aging and unreliable grid had not yet begun. Utilities officials have blamed the ongoing outages on aging, poorly maintained infrastructure.

Puerto Rico power outage twitter today, Massive blackout in Puerto Rico leaves the country without power image 98

The two facilities responsible for supplying power to 3.2 million Puerto Ricans cannot determine when power will be fully restored or what caused the breaker failure at the Costa Sur power plant, one of the island’s four main power plants, to cause Insel, sparking a massive outbreak. power failure.

Luma Energy, the Canadian-American private company that took over transmission and distribution in Puerto Rico last year, said its crews have been working non-stop to restore service. As of early Thursday afternoon, power had been restored to at least 300,000 customers, but the restoration work “could continue into Thursday and Friday in some places.”

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the bankrupt public agency responsible for controlling power-generating installations, said the communities of Vieques and Culebra were powered entirely by “submarine cables.”

The power outage also left some 168,000 customers without water, crippled traffic across the island, and filled the air with the roar of generators and the smell of diesel.

NBC’s sister station Telemundo Puerto Rico reported late Thursday morning that about eight gas stations on the island ran out of fuel after consumers scrambled to get fuel for the generators.

At a news conference Thursday night, government officials said the island has enough fuel to last for 60 days.

Those who can’t afford generators and suffer from conditions like diabetes that depend on frozen insulin worry about how long they’ll be without power.

“It’s horrible,” said Luisa Rosado, a mother of two who lives in the San Juan Rio Piedras neighborhood, while denouncing higher utility bills. Puerto Ricans pay nearly twice as much for unreliable electricity as customers in the continental United States.

“When you don’t provide perfect service, the bills go up … the level of impunity is absurd,” Rosado said.

“The system is gradually being restored,” said Kevin Acevedo, vice president of Luma Energy, adding that the company is working hard to complete the work within 24 hours.

“Puerto Ricans need to understand that this is a multi-year system,” Acevedo said. “Restoring the Puerto Rican system is a delicate and complex process.”

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Acevedo said a “full investigation” was underway to determine exactly what caused the breakers at the damaged power station to catch fire, adding that equipment there had been “properly maintained”.

Officials said at least three generators were back online as of Thursday, and crews were working to restore more.

The outages came two months before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and many were concerned about the state of Puerto Rico’s power grid.

“Puerto Ricans need to understand that this is a multi-year system,” Acevedo said. “The system is fragile and no one is denying that, but we are ready.”

The federal government has committed $12 billion in federal aid to modernize Puerto Rico’s energy sector. According to LUMA, a portion of that funding is currently being used to replace aging circuit breakers, such as those that caught fire at the Costa Sur power plant.

At a news conference outside the damaged power plant on Thursday afternoon, a LUMA official said many of the circuit breakers that needed to be replaced were more than 40 years old — even though the equipment typically has a 30-year lifespan.

In 2020, a series of powerful earthquakes hit southern Puerto Rico, and the area where the Costa Sur factory is located also caused damage.

The Power Authority is trying to restructure its $9 billion national debt to escape a prolonged bankruptcy. The company has battled corruption, mismanagement and lack of maintenance for decades.

Last June, a fire at a substation in the capital, San Juan, left hundreds of thousands of people without power. Another power plant fire in September 2016 caused power outages across the island.

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