SAN JUAN, P.R. — An explosion and fire at an electric substation threw a lot of northern Puerto Rico into darkness late Sunday in a setback for the territory’s efforts to totally restore energy much more than 5 months soon after Hurricane Maria started one particular of the longest blackouts in United States history.
The island’s Electric Power Authority mentioned a number of municipalities have been without energy, which includes components of the capital, San Juan, but officials had been optimistic it could be restored inside a day as they worked to repair a substation that controls voltage.
The blast illustrated the challenges of restoring a energy grid that was already crumbling prior to it was devastated by Maria, a Category four hurricane.
In several circumstances, energy workers are repairing equipment that must have lengthy been replaced but remained online since of the power authority’s yearslong monetary crisis. The energy authority is worth roughly $4 billion, carries $9 billion in debt and has extended been criticized for political patronage and inefficiency. It also struggled with frequent blackouts, including an island-wide outage in September 2016.
It was not immediately known what brought on Sunday’s fire, which was quickly extinguished. Officials mentioned the explosion knocked two other substations offline and caused a total loss of 400 megawatts worth of generation.
Heavy black smoke billowed from the substation as neighbors in the location described on social media seeing the sky turn orange following a loud explosion. San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz posted on Twitter that no injuries had been reported and that power had been restored in some areas of the city.
The blackout comes as far more than 400,000 energy buyers remain in the dark far more than five months soon after Hurricane Maria. The storm destroyed two-thirds of the island’s energy distribution program and triggered up to an estimated $94 billion in damage.
Published at Mon, 12 Feb 2018 03:55:07 +0000