Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Puerto Rico Hit With New Blackout After Explosion at Power Plant

Puerto Rico Hit With New Blackout After Explosion at Power Plant

The logo of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is seen in Dorado, Puerto Rico January 22, 2018.

Puerto Rico has been plunged into darkness after an explosion and fire at an electric substation on Sunday caused a widespread blackout.

Authorities said the blackout affected several municipalities in the northern section of the island, including the capital of San Juan. Five months later, the US colony is still struggling to restore its power supply, with less than 64 percent of power customers receiving electricity.

The state electric power authority (AEE) said the blast was caused by a broken-down switch in Rio Piedras, resulting in a blackout in central San Juan and Palo Seco in the north.

More news: Google hires former Samsung exec to coordinate Internet of Things projects

San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz tweeted that no injuries had been reported and that firefighters were on the scene.

The blackout largely affected the northern part of Puerto Rico, just months after Hurricane Maria cut power to the entire island.

The Category 4 storm destroyed two-thirds of the island's power distribution system and caused up to an estimated $94 billion in damage. The state-owned power company is worth roughly $4 billion, carries $9 billion in debt and has always been criticized for political patronage and inefficiency.

Prepa has been criticized for its inefficiency, with US$9 billion in debt and infrastructure three times older than the industry average. It also has suffered frequent blackouts, including an island-wide outage in September 2016. More than five months after the Hurricane, more than 400,000 PREPA customers still do not have power. Last month, Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló announced plans to privatize the company, a move that could become the largest restructuring of a public entity in USA history.

Like this: