Power Partially Restored After Blackout Leaves Most of Puerto Rico in Darkness

By Paul Riegler on 22 September 2016
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San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Much of Puerto Rico remained without electricity Friday morning after a fire at the Aguirre power plant in Salinas knocked out two 230,000-volt transmission lines that serve much of the country on Wednesday.

Circuit breakers shut down the flow of power as a preventive measure, the island’s Electric Power Authority said. The island, which has a population of 3.5 million people, was completely without power although more than 390,000 of the territory’s 1.5 million homes had power restored by Thursday morning.

Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said he expected more than half of the island’s customers to have power some time Friday and hoped that 90% would have power over the weekend.

The governor warned that turning power back on would be a slow process. “Given that the system is so old, numerous setbacks could occur,” he said, adding that the island’s grid was “not designed to withstand a failure of this magnitude.”

The blackout snarled traffic across the island and necessitated the cancellation of train service. The lack of power caused businesses, government offices, and universities to close early on Wednesday, further exacerbating traffic.

Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan remains open but the traffic situation has affected travel to and from the airport. Airport workers are checking passengers in manually to conserve power.

While localized power outages are not uncommon in Puerto Rico, which has an aging utility grid, the blackout has left the island in chaos.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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