Puerto Rico power outage: Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses still without service

About 600,000 to 650,000 of the island’s 1.5 million utility customers have regained power, the territory’s power grid operator said Friday morning.

That leaves between 800,000 and 850,000 homes and businesses without power in a blackout that has closed schools across the island for two days and caused other disruptions for Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million residents.

“We hope that sometime tonight we can get 1 million customers back online. This is subject to security: for the system, for the employees and for the community,” Kevin Acevedo, vice president of LUMA Energy, the operator from the Puerto Rico power grid, he told reporters in San Juan.

An unspecified fault sparked a fire at the Costa Sur power plant outside the town of Guayanilla on the southwest coast around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, cutting power to the entire island, Acevedo said. Firefighters have since extinguished the flames.

All customers on the island were without power initially, Josué Colón, Puerto Rico’s principal telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, told reporters Thursday, “because all the generating units were disconnected.”

The exact cause was not immediately known, the utility said.

“Each piece of equipment (in the plant’s switchyard) needs to be inspected and tested to ensure that when it’s back in service, we can reliably and safely restore power for customers,” said Shay Bahramirad, Vice President senior of LUMA Energy. engineering and asset management, he told reporters in San Juan on Friday.

The blackout has also interrupted water service to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, Governor Pedro Pierluisi sayingciting the island’s aqueduct and sewerage authority.
Puerto Rico canceled classes on Friday for students for the second day in a row. But school principals, custodians and school cafeteria employees were still told to report to work on Friday, the island’s education department said. saying.
The island’s courts were also closed on Friday due to the outage, although some court services will be available online for urgent matters such as mental health and restraining orders, the territory’s court system saying.

All hospitals were operational Thursday afternoon, whether power was restored or they were operating through a generator, according to Interior Secretary Noelia García Bardales.

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.

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’s Rafy Rivera, Stefano Pozzebon and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.

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