Puerto Rico is gradually recovering from an island-wide power outage that started on Wednesday evening. However, hundreds of thousands of people still lack electricity as the territory continues to struggle with its fragile power grid.
The outage was the result of a failed circuit breaker at Costa Sur power plant. According to The New York Times, the plant produces more electricity than any other facility on the island. Luma, a private Canadian-American entity that took over management of the power grid from a public utility last year, said there was “extensive damage” to the plant. An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause, though it appears there was a fire.
According to poweroutage.us, a site that tracks power interruptions, more than 429,000 customers out of 1.47 million were without power as of 1:25PM Eastern time on Friday. As of Friday morning, Luma said it couldn’t provide an estimate on how long it would take to fully restore power.
Critical facilities such as hospitals are up and running, though public school service was canceled on Friday. Around 182,000 or 10 percent of water and sewer customers didn’t have water on Thursday.
When it started running the island’s power transmission and distribution, Luma said it would make blackouts less frequent. However, according to reports, outages have persisted and lasted longer than when the public utility was managing the grid.
After Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, there was a power outage across the island. Some folks had to wait for more than a year before electricity was restored, a situation that highlighted the precarious condition of the territory’s power grid.