Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico Again?

Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico Again?

Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico Again?

An island-wide blackout has struck Puerto Rico, plunging the USA territory of more than 3 million citizens back into darkness more than seven months after local and federal officials began working to restore a fragile power grid demolished by Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico's power company said it had restored power to over 1.1 million homes and businesses by Thursday morning after a transmission line failure cut service to nearly all of the island's 3.4 million residents the day before.

The resulting electrical fault knocked out power to almost every home and business across the storm-battered American territory, authorities said, a catastrophic failure that could take up to 36 hours to restore.

While Puerto Rico had been hit with several major blackouts in the hurricane's wake, Wednesday marked the first time power was knocked out to the entire island since the vicious Category 4 hurricane made landfall on September 20. Only small pockets generated by microgrids were spared by the latest power loss. Coto noted that around 40,000 power customers on the island still remain without normal electrical service due to the hurricane. The agency blamed a fallen tree for an outage that cut power to 900,000 people last week. According to media reports the accident, which involved an excavator used by a subcontracted company hired to restore power on the island in the wake of massive damage caused by Hurricane Maria, occurred in the southeast of the country.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello announced on Twitter that he has called for PREPA to drop Cobra as a contractor.

"The outage snarled traffic across the island, interrupted classes and work, and forced dozens of businesses to temporarily close, including the largest mall and popular tourist attractions like a 16th Century fort in the historic part of Puerto Rico's capital", Coto wrote.

"This is the second power failure that has affected the people of Puerto Rico in less than a week", he said in the statement.

Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans living in communities located in the east and central regions of the island had yet to see their lights come back on since the hurricane. CNN reported 51,000 customers have power so far out of 1.4 million across the island. This led to an electrical ground fault that caused the outage of the transmission circuit that caused the island-wide blackout. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the federal power restoration efforts, said they hope to have the entire island fully energized by May.

"Well, right now we're still as motivated as ever", Major Carrasco said.

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