Puerto Rico suffers island-wide power outage

Puerto Rico has suffered an island-wide power outage, Puerto Rico's power authority revealed. CNN's Leyla Santiago reports.

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 7:55 AM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 7:57 AM

With most of Puerto Rico in the dark Wednesday night, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in a tweet that he has suggested Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority cancel its contract with a subcontractor that caused an island-wide power outage.

An excavator operated by D. Grimm, a subcontractor for Cobra Acquisitions, apparently caused the blackout, which originated at a major transmission line running between Salinas and Guayama in the southeast, according to the authority.

The same company was responsible for an outage that affected 870,000 customers after a tree fell on a power line last week, PREPA said.

Mammoth Energy, Cobra's parent company, said workers were removing a fallen tower when the machine got too close to an energized line and an electrical ground fault caused the outage.

As of 8 p.m., only 334,000 customers in the US commonwealth had electricity again. Power was to be restored to customers who had electricity before the latest outage within 24 to 36 hours, the authority said.

This is the latest setback as power officials try to restore power to the nearly 1.4 million customers who lost electric service during Hurricane Maria nearly seven months ago. Most of the island had had its power restored as the commonwealth rebuilt its decimated electrical grid.

Hospitals first

The utility said its priority Wednesday was to bring back service to medical facilities, water pumping systems and financial institutions.

Video and photos posted on social media showed rapid transit line workers helping down passengers from stalled trains and college students registering for classes during the blackout. Long lines of cars formed at gas stations and a fire broke out in an electrical generator behind a restaurant in the Condado tourist district.

"Seven months after Maria, we are back where Maria left us," Cynthia Garcia Coll, a professor at Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, said via email.

Rafael Santiago, an engineer at a plant that makes prosthetic devices, said via Twitter that he and other workers were evacuated after being locked inside for about 20 minutes while electric generators were started.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, a frequent critic of recovery efforts since the September hurricane, worried that Puerto Rico won't be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.

"Today's total power outage in Puerto Rico pinpoints the fact that we are still in a very fragile state. Moreover, the suffering of the Puerto Rican people seems to be nowhere nearing an end," she said.

Play ball!

But the mayor said backup systems and mobile tower lights allowed Wednesday night's baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins to go on as planned at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

"Nothing will stop us," she tweeted.

Puerto Rico, home to more than 3 million US citizens, has grappled with widespread power outages for months since Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island.

Puerto Rico's power outage is now the second-largest blackout in history

Puerto Rico has lost 3.4 billion customer-hours of electricity service due to Maria, according to an analysis released last week by the economic data analytics and policy firm Rhodium Group.

It's the largest blackout in US history (in terms of customer hours) and the second largest in the world -- after the outage caused when Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines in 2013, killing more than 6,000 people.

Puerto Rico's power authority faced widespread criticism late last year for signing a $300 million contract to restore power with Whitefish Energy Holdings, a small Montana-based firm with only two employees at the time.

The utility canceled the contract amid public outcry, and its executive director stepped down in November.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
Coshocton32112
Guernsey3218
Pike3000
Wyandot29513
Gallia29113
Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
Hocking1979
Monroe16118
Noble1290
Vinton963
Harrison803
Morgan780
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Angola
39° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 34°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
42° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Decatur
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 36°
Van Wert
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 36°
Cooler Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events