Puerto Rico Power Outage: Crews scramble to restore power after an island-wide power outage

Most customers on the island of around 3.2 million people were still without power as of Thursday, officials said. By the end of the day, power had been restored to at least 380,200 LUMA customers as of 10 p.m. local time, LUMA Energy said in a Explanation on his Twitter account.

“Given the magnitude of the outage, its scope and the need to work safely, we are informing our customers that recovery will continue through Thursday night and into Friday,” the company said in the statement.

An unspecified outage caused a fire at the Costa Sur power plant outside the southwest coast city of Guayanilla around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, disrupting power across the island, Kevin Acevedo, vice president of LUMA Energy, said during a news conference . The fire brigade has since put out the flames.

All customers on the island were initially unplugged, Josue Colon, Puerto Rico’s chief telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, told reporters “because all the generators went offline.”

The exact cause was not immediately known utility said.

LUMA Energy, which runs the island’s power grid, expects power to be restored within 24 hours of the incident, Acevedo said at the press conference.

The blackout has also cut off water supplies to about 100,000 homes and businesses, Governor Pedro Pierluisi said calledciting the island’s aqueducts and sewerage authority.
The Puerto Rico Department of Education canceled classes for students on Friday, but “principals, janitors and school cafeteria staff are required to report to campus by 10:00 a.m.,” the department said in a tweet.
Pierluisi suspended school classes across the island on Thursday and urged non-essential government employees to stay at home. Only government employees “with essential and emergency functions are required to report for work,” said Pierluisi in a press release.

The hospital’s intensive care unit temporarily lost power

The intensive care unit at Mayagüez Medical Center on the island’s west coast was temporarily without power due to problems with backup generators, prompting LUMA to focus particularly on restoring power there, officials said.

Power was eventually restored to the site, the Puerto Rico Minister of Health, Carlos Mellado López said on Twitter.

Four patients on that floor were intubated and would have been transferred to a floor with power had care not been restored quickly, officials previously said.

Home Secretary Noelia García Bardales said all hospitals were operational as of Thursday afternoon, whether their power had been restored or they were running from a generator.

“All hospitals are working without setbacks. All elective surgeries were performed today without any inconvenience. All dialysis services are performed without delays,” said García Bardales.

Puerto Rico’s airports were operational and no flight cancellations were reported as a result of the outage, officials said.

Police have a plan to circulate traffic with the lights off, but “we ask for cooperation from drivers on the roads,” Pierluisi said.

Ordered replacement power plant parts, official says

early thursday, said the provider The “massive island-wide power outage” could have been caused “by a circuit breaker failure” at the Costa Sur plant.

Firefighters were putting out blazes affecting two substations at the facility, the Bureau of Puerto Rico Fire Departments said on Facebook on Wednesday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Acevedo said Thursday morning, adding that the equipment is up to date with maintenance inspections.

Clean-up operations at the facility are underway and replacement parts have been identified and ordered, Acevedo said.

LUMA is a joint venture between Quanta Services and Canadian energy company ATCO, which the Puerto Rican government has selected to take over power grid operations from its former public utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. LUMA has been responsible for the power grid since June 1st

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the name of Puerto Rico’s leading telecommunications and infrastructure engineer was misspelled. It’s Josue Colon.

CNN’s Rafy Rivera, Stefano Pozzebon, Michelle Watson, Carlos Suarez, and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.

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