Puerto Rico Endures Country-Wide Blackout

Puerto Rico back in darkness after island-wide blackout

Most of Puerto Rico lost power Wednesday when a fix crew for a subcontractor for the island's electric power authority knocked down a transmission line connecting two power plants.

Angel Figueroa, president of the power workers' union, told reporters that workers were investigating why a backup breaker at a main power station in the island's southern region did not function when the outage occurred, causing the entire electrical grid to shut down to protect itself.

Officials said restoring power to hospitals, airports, banking centers and water pumping systems was their priority.

A general view shows a street after a major power line failure in southern Puerto Rico cut electricity to nearly all customers, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 18.

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. Outdated power grids like the one in Puerto Rico are becoming less reliable so southern US states such as Texas, Florida, and Louisiana as well as Caribbean Islands started to show more interest in solar energy.

Puerto Rico's governor has called on the government-owned electric utility to end its relationship with the company that caused a power outage on Wednesday that knocked out electricity to the entire island. The restoration campaign has been plagued by political power struggles, rough terrain and logistical nightmares that have slowed and frustrated the populace and local leaders. "The grid is so fragile and they're just barely able to get the lights back on".

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It was the first time since Hurricane Maria left the island's power grid in ruins on September 20 that almost all of the electric company's 1.5 million customers found themselves in the dark, although another failure less than a week ago had cut power to 870,000 users.

"The areas that are wealthier, the areas that are more urban, had power restored much more quickly", said Kelly Macias, a staff writer at the Daily Kos.

"I have suggested to the Board of @AEEONLINE that they cancel the contract with the Cobra subcontractor that is directly responsible for this power outage", Rossello tweeted.

"The entire electrical system in Puerto Rico collapses AGAIN!"

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has spent $2.1 billion on restoring power on the island, where 80 percent of the distribution lines were damaged during the hurricane.

This incident was marked as the "second-largest blackout", CNN reports.

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