Two power plants shut down on Thursday, causing blackouts in the capital San Juan, along with the neighboring municipalities of Bayamon, Caguas and Carolina.
Now, crews work around the clock to restore power to more than 970,000 in Puerto Rico.
An island still struggling to restore power to all residents, three weeks ago, a fire at one of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) substation knocked two power plants offline. Some residents went without power for days.
The blackout is a second major setback on an island still unsteady from major storms and a unreliable assist post-recovery from the federal government.
After two major hurricanes ripped Puerto Rico, and left its infrastructure in tatters, (PREPA) and interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, awarded a two-person, Montana firm, Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC, a $300 million contract to restore power.
Highly inexperienced to carryout the project, the company was tasked with building more than 2,500 miles of three or four transmission lines to the 3.4 million living on the island. Slow and inefficient, was removed from the project November 2017, but billed Puerto Rico $319 an hour for emergency workers.
Before and after the 2017 hurrincanes, PERPA struggled with maintaining the infrastructure’s power. Now, with $9 billion in debt, Governor Ricardo Russell announced that power will be privatized by late 2019.
Currently, 15 to 25 percent of the island still does not have power six months after Hurricane Maria, while U.S. Virgin Islands power is 99 percent restored.