Puerto Rico power outage: Crews scramble to restore electricity after island-wide outage

Most customers on the island of about 3.2 million residents were still without power Thursday morning, officials said.

An unspecified fault caused a fire at the Costa Sur power plant on the outskirts of the city of Guayanilla in the southwest coast around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, cutting power to the entire island, Kevin Acevedo, vice president of Puerto Rican utility LUMA Energy, said at a news conference. Firefighters have since extinguished the flames.

All customers on the island initially lost power service, José Colón, Puerto Rico’s lead telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, told reporters, “because all the generating units were disconnected.”

LUMA Energy, which operates the island’s power grid, expects power to be restored within 24 hours of the incident, Acevedo said at the news conference.

The blackout has also interrupted water service to some 100,000 homes and businesses, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said. saidciting the island’s aqueduct and sewerage authority.
Pierluisi suspended school classes across the island Thursday and told non-essential government workers to stay home. Only government workers “with essential and emergency functions will be required to report to work,” Pierluisi said in a press release.

Hospital intensive care floor temporarily lost power

The intensive care floor of the Mayagüez Medical Center, on the island’s west coast, was temporarily without power due to problems with the backup generator, prompting LUMA to focus especially on restoring power there, officials said.

Power was eventually restored to the site, Puerto Rico Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López said. said on Twitter.

Four patients on that floor were intubated and would have been moved to a floor with electricity if power had not been quickly restored, authorities previously said.

Puerto Rico’s airports were operational and no flight cancellations were reported due to the outage, according to officials.

Police have a plan to help circulate traffic with lights off, but “we ask for the cooperation of drivers on the roads,” Pierluisi said.

Power plant replacement parts ordered, official says

early Thursday, utility said the “massive island-wide blackout” could have been “caused by a circuit breaker failure” at the Costa Sur plant.

Firefighters extinguished the flames that affected two substations of the plant, the Puerto Rico Fire Bureau reported Wednesday on Facebook.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, Acevedo said Thursday morning, adding that the crew was up to date with maintenance inspections.

Cleanup of the plant is already underway and spare parts have been identified and ordered, Acevedo said.

LUMA is a joint venture between Quanta Services and the Canadian energy company ATCO, which the government of Puerto Rico chose to take over the operation of the electric grid from its former electric utility, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Rich. LUMA has been in charge of the power grid since June 1.

CNN en Español’s Rafy Rivera contributed to this report.

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