‘5 months without power’: Blackout is latest snag in Puerto Rico’s long recovery from Hurricane Maria

Photos posted to Twitter by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, showed charred equipment at one of the substations, and a video captured the fire at one of the plants as workers tried to control the blaze. 

The outage is the latest in a series of setbacks that has prevented the island’s recovery. PREPA is heavily in debt and struggling to patch up a power grid that is outdated and in dire need of restoration.

A U.S. contractor initially hired by the power company to restore electricity was fired after delays and controversies over how the contract was awarded.

Rosselló said last month that he plans to privatize PREPA, which relies on infrastructure nearly three times older than the industry average. It would be the largest restructuring of a public entity in U.S. history.

Other areas of recovery have had similar challenges. Last week, The New York Timesreported that a one-person, Atlanta-based company delivered only 50,000 meals instead of the 30 million called for in its contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA said the disaster relief agency has delivered more than 50 million meals to Puerto Rico since the storm. 

Restoring power to the entire island remains one of the top concerns. 

PREPA board President Jose Carrion said Monday at a Puerto Rico investment summit that the power company has been bankrupted by administrators and abused by corruption and that privatization is needed even after power is fully restored.

“The same inefficiencies that have dragged the utility for decades remain,” he said. “Of all the realities (Hurricanes) Irma and Maria confronted us with, without a doubt the most evident is that Puerto Rico’s energy system does not work.”

Article Appeared @https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/02/12/power-outage-puerto-rico-latest-snag-islands-long-recovery-hurricane-maria/329322002/

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