Power restored for most of Puerto Rico after huge blackout

Power restored for most of Puerto Rico after huge blackout

A blackout hit Puerto Rico this morning, knocking out power all over the island.

Justo González, an executive deputy director of the power authority, said Wednesday that the blackout was caused by a private contractor when a bulldozer downed a transmission line while trying to remove a collapsed tower.

Several large power outages have hit Puerto Rico in recent months, but Wednesday was the first time since the hurricane struck September 20 that the USA territory has experienced a full island-wide blackout.

The contractor responsible for both outages was subsequently fired, according to PREPA spokesman Geraldo Quinones Lopez, NBC News reported.

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"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", Coto wrote.

"I am committed to push for and enact trailblazing reforms that will ensure the transformation of our energy sector and give our people a state-of-the-art power system as we rebuild a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico", Rossello said in a statement.

It is the first island-wide power outage since the storm. Rosselló is pushing a bill to privatize the power system.

Backup generators roared to life at the island's largest public hospital and at its main worldwide airport, where officials reported no cancellations or delays.

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The power outage has called into question a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians scheduled for Wednesday night in San Juan. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the federal power restoration efforts, said they hope to have the entire island fully energized by May. "We are prepared. Every area of Hiram Bithorn Stadium can run on generators that have a capacity to run for 48 hours", Blakeman said.

An excavator reportedly caused the latest such blackout, which began at a major transmission line in the southeast of the island.

Individual faults, such as the one that occurred in southern Puerto Rico, can have a ripple effect on the grid because the island lacks sufficient generation reserves to continue operation when one plant or transmission line goes offline, Jorge Camacho, a former District of Columbia regulatory staffer who is now working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology told Utility Dive. "The media has been really negligent in paying attention to an issue that is really, really important, that is life threatening to Puerto Ricans and that we know likely would never happen if it were happening somewhere on the mainland like Hurricane Harvey in Texas this fall", she said.

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