Widespread power outage persists in Puerto Rico

In another blow to its recovery efforts, an island-wide power outage left most of Puerto Rico in the dark, with only ...

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 1:02 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 1:02 PM

In another blow to its recovery efforts, an island-wide power outage left most of Puerto Rico in the dark, with only a fraction of residents regaining electricity by Wednesday night.

The latest blackout prompted Gov. Ricardo Rossello to call on the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to cancel its contract with the subcontractor that caused the massive outage.

"I have suggested to the PREPA Board of Directors that they cancel the contract with the Cobra subcontractor who is directly responsible for this power outage," he said in a statement Wednesday.

An excavator operated by D. Grimm, a subcontractor for Cobra Acquisitions, apparently caused the blackout, according to the authority. Workers had been removing a fallen tower when the machine got too close to an energized line and an electrical ground fault caused the outage, according to Mammoth Energy, Cobra's parent company.

The same company was responsible for an outage that affected 870,000 customers after a tree fell on a power line last week, PREPA said.

"This is the second power failure that has affected the people of Puerto Rico in less than a week," Rossello said. "This incident denotes the need to transform PREPA into a cutting-edge, modern and robust corporation. This is another example of why Puerto Rico's energy infrastructure needs to incorporate new forms of power."

As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, only 334,000 customers in the US commonwealth had electricity again, according to a tweet from PREPA. It also said via Twitter that it's working to restore service through the island.

The game must go on

Hours into the blackout, the lights came on at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan for a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. The Wednesday game lasted 16 innings before a sold-out crowd of 19,537, according to MLB.com.

Backup systems and mobile tower lights allowed the game to go on as planned, said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.

"Playball! Nothing will stop us," she tweeted.

Many watched the game then went to homes without electricity.

Power was to be restored to customers who had electricity before the latest outage within 24 to 36 hours, according to PREPA.

Most of the island had had its power restored as Puerto Rico began the process of rebuilding its decimated electrical grid after Hurricane Maria struck in September and knocked out power to nearly 1.4 million customers.

"Seven months after Maria, we are back where Maria left us," Cynthia Garcia Coll, a professor at Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, said via email.

Is Puerto Rico ready for hurricane season?

Cruz worried that the latest outage signaled that Puerto Rico won't be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.

"Our electrical system is weak, at best," the mayor said Wednesday. "Today's blackout makes it painfully obvious that we are not yet ready for the coming hurricane season, which is only 43 days away."

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June through November. This season could be a slightly above average one, according to a preliminary forecast.

"Today's total power outage in Puerto Rico pinpoints the fact that we are still in a very fragile state," she said. "Moreover, the suffering of the Puerto Rican people seems to be nowhere nearing an end."

Puerto Rico has lost 3.4 billion customer-hours of electricity service due to Maria, according to an analysis released last week by the economic data analytics and policy firm Rhodium Group.

RELATED: Puerto Rico's power outage is now the second-largest blackout in history

It's the largest blackout in US history (in terms of customer hours) and the second largest in the world -- after the outage caused when Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines in 2013, killing more than 6,000 people.

Huntsville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 66°
Florence
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 66°
Fayetteville
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 57°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 64°
Scottsboro
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18018

Reported Deaths: 644
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 22566

Reported Deaths: 364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson504062
Shelby4943111
Trousdale13924
Rutherford119623
Sumner88145
Hamilton79415
Bledsoe6071
Williamson55210
Putnam4795
Robertson4653
Tipton4423
Out of TN4184
Lake4140
Wilson4078
Knox3755
Bedford2834
Montgomery2693
Rhea2100
Hardeman1960
Madison1752
Loudon1430
McMinn14114
Macon1363
Cheatham1230
Bradley1221
Fayette1152
Cumberland1121
Dickson1090
Unassigned920
Blount913
Maury890
Sevier812
Washington750
Coffee730
Wayne640
Gibson631
Monroe622
Sullivan602
Hickman580
Lauderdale561
Franklin531
Greene502
Dyer500
Marion401
Anderson401
DeKalb370
Hamblen362
Smith341
White330
Hawkins332
Lawrence310
Grundy311
Haywood312
Marshall311
Obion301
Henry300
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Overton260
Meigs260
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Warren230
Cannon210
Perry210
Cocke200
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Jackson170
Crockett162
Roane160
Polk160
Johnson160
Henderson150
Hardin152
Sequatchie150
Humphreys131
Fentress120
McNairy120
Chester120
Giles120
Scott120
Stewart110
Claiborne90
Houston80
Grainger80
Clay70
Benton71
Decatur50
Unicoi40
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Moore30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events