Another Power Outage Leaves Most Puerto Ricans in the Dark

April 19, 2018
Updated 9d ago

Most of Puerto Rico lost power Wednesday when a repair crew for a subcontractor for the island's electric power authority knocked down a transmission line connecting two power plants.

The near-total blackout occurred seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and left most of its residents without power. Tens of thousands have gone without electricity since September.

Wednesday's power failure was the second major interruption of service in less than two weeks, and the island's governor said in a tweet that Puerto Rico's power authority should cancel its agreement with the subcontractor that was responsible for the latest outage.

"This is another example of why Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure needs to incorporate new forms of power," Gov. Ricardo Rossello said on Twitter.

Only 334,000 of the island's more than 3 million residents had power as of 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, CNN reported, and thousands have been left in the dark for months.

"The areas that are wealthier, the areas that are more urban, had power restored much more quickly," said Kelly Macias, a staff writer at the Daily Kos. "So the areas that are still without power are those areas that are rural, that are poorer and that are more mountainous, that are harder to get to,."

Macias said in an interview on Cheddar that the island's power outages affect Puerto Rico's most vulnerable residents the most.

Without power, Macias said residents lose access to clean water, medication, and other life-sustaining medical care. "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.

"I think part of it is the Trump effect," said Macias. "The media has been really interested in sort of what happens with Donald Trump on a daily basis so there is kind of this whiplash effect of paying attention to what's happening in Washington."

Macias added that private companies have stepped in to help with Puerto Rico's recovery. "That actually has been going better than the government effort to tell you the truth," she said.

For the full interview, click here.