Bloomberg — Puerto Rico’s electricity grid operator said some parts of the island wouldn’t see power restored until Friday, after a fire near the Costa Sur power plant plunged much of the U.S. territory into darkness late Wednesday.
In an update early Thursday, Luma Energy, which began operating the transmission and distribution system in June, said it had still not found the “exact cause” of the problem, but “given the massive size and scope of the outage, power restoration could extend well into Thursday and Friday for some areas.”
The governor’s office said only about 80,000 of the island’s 1.4 million energy customers had power restored. The government canceled public schools and non-essential government jobs Thursday and said some public transportation would remain suspended.
During a press conference early Thursday, Josue Colon, the director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, said a circuit-breaker fire near the 230 KW Costa Sur plant at about 8:45 pm Wednesday had tripped emergency shut-offs at other units that affected the entire island. Colon said officials were analyzing the emergency shutdown procedures to see “if they had functioned correctly.”
Puerto Rico has one of the most expensive and least reliable electricity services of any U.S. jurisdiction and localized power outages are common. In addition, Prepa, the island’s public utility and main power generator, is working through bankruptcy.
Governor Pedro Pierluisi, who is in Spain on official business, called for calm and said crews would prioritize bringing hospitals and other key infrastructure online first.