Power Coming Back in Puerto Rico After Massive Outage

Power Coming Back in Puerto Rico After Massive Outage Power Coming Back in Puerto Rico After Massive Outage The main entrance the Costa Sur power plant is seen in Penuelas, Puerto Rico on January 9, 2020, after a powerful earthquake hit the island. (Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Sunday, 10 April 2022 12:41 PM

The lights are back on for more than 1 million customers in Puerto Rico who have been without electrical power since last week, and officials said the power may be on in full for the rest of those affected sometime on Sunday.

As of early Sunday morning, the power had been restored to at least 1.4 million of the almost 1.5 million people who were under the outage, reports Fox News, quoting LUMA Energy, which took over transmission and distribution services last year from Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority.

The company said in a statement that even though power may be on for everyone on Sunday, it is asking its customers to conserve their energy use "to help reduce energy demand and support the full restoration efforts across Puerto Rico."

Pointing to recent restoration progress, LUMA said Saturday that it's possible electricity will reach the remaining customers by Sunday and crews were working overnight.

Crews have been working nonstop to restore power, said LUMA officials, adding that it will be weeks before it's fully known what caused the massive outage that ended up forcing schools and government offices to close and left 160,000 customers without water.

However, LUMA believes a circuit breaker failure, caused after a fire broke out at the Costa Sur power plant in the territory's southern region, may have been at fault.

An unspecified failure was behind the fire, according to Luma Energy vice president Kevin Acevedo, reports CNN.

All the company's customers lost power when "all the generating units went offline," Josue Colon, the island's lead telecommunications and infrastructure engineer said.

The outage was "very unusual" and showed how Puerto Rico's electrical grid has been fragile for years after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, devastated the island, said LUMA CEO Wayne Stensby, reports Fox News.

In addition to power disruptions, the outage also caused interrupted water service to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, said Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, who cited the island's aqueducts and sewers authority.

According to Secretary of the Interior Noelia Garcia Bardales, even though schools and government offices were closed, all of the Puerto Rican hospitals affected had power by Thursday afternoon, reports CNN.

Acevedo also said the equipment that caught fire was up to date with its maintenance inspections, and the company has ordered replacement parts for the power plant.

LUMA, a joint venture of Quanta Services and the Canadian energy company ATCO, took over operations of the power grid on June 1 after being chosen by the Puerto Rican government, replacing the former Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.