Health Care

Puerto Rico Blackout Struggles Obscure Post-Hurricane Comeback

Puerto Rico Blackout Struggles Obscure Post-Hurricane Comeback

As a result of these donations, today they presented a $4,000 check to Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos (www.casajulia.org), a well-respected institution for abused women in Puerto Rico founded in 1979.

Backup systems and mobile tower lights allowed the game to go on as planned, said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.

The main priorities for restoration are hospitals, airports, water treatment plants, banks, business and then homes, a PREPA spokesperson told ABC News, adding it will take 24 to 36 hours for the last person to get their power back. Workers had been removing a fallen tower when the machine got too close to an energized line and an electrical ground fault caused the outage, according to Mammoth Energy, Cobra's parent company.

Prior to the outage, more than 44,000 customers were still without normal electric service lost after the storm.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a statement Wednesday that he had suggested the power authority cancel the contract with the subcontractor responsible for the outage. "This incident denotes the need to transform PREPA into a cutting-edge, modern and robust corporation".

The same subcontractor was also blamed for an outage last week to 870,000 customers triggered by a tree falling on a power line, according to Justo Gonzalez, deputy director of PREPA.




"Seven months after Maria, we are back where Maria left us", Cynthia Garcia Coll, a professor at Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, said via email.

"Everybody is pissed off", said Dr. Jorge Gabriel Rosado, 30, a pediatrician on the island.

The Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, was working to restore power to the less than 30 percent of customers in the US territory still without power after Wednesday morning's blackout. "I have seen a lack of urgency on that, whether it is on the contracting side or the bringing materials side which is a current problem".

"This is all very worrisome, obviously, as we approach another hurricane season", said Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. "Rebuilding the generating capability of Puerto Rico was not the Corps of Engineers' task". "We are prepared. Every area of Hiram Bithorn Stadium can run on generators that have a capacity to run for 48 hours", Blakeman said.

Federal officials who testified before Congress last week said they expect to have a plan by June on how to strengthen and stabilize the island's power grid, noting that up to 75 percent of distribution lines were damaged by high winds and flooding.


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