The Entire Island of Puerto Rico Just Lost Power [Update: Power's Coming Back]

A different blackout in Puerto Rico during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Photo: Getty

Darkness has fallen on the island of Puerto Rico. All 1.5 million customers of the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority are currently without power.

This is according to the authority itself, which informed the public via Twitter Wednesday. As far as we know, power isn’t expected to return for another 24 to 36 hours. The power authority is prioritizing power to hospitals, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, gas stations, banks, and emergency units (like firefighters) but is still investigating the cause, according to The Associated Press.


Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico nearly seven months ago to the date, and this shit is still happening.

It’s the second major power outage this month, and it comes on the heels of the island’s overall blackout being dubbed the second-longest ever. This most recent slap in the face to the remaining U.S. citizens who live on the island (and haven’t fled to the mainland) is a stark reminder of the island’s fragile electric grid, which is in need of some serious updating.


And we’re less than two months out from the 2018 hurricane season.

Meanwhile, a baseball game at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan has resorted to using its emergency system. “The game will go on,” wrote San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Twitter.


Update 1:15 p.m.: Politicians (former and current) have begun to weigh on on this blackout, as seen from Twitter. Notably, this doesn’t include President Donald Trump—yet.


Update 2:22 p.m.: Justo González, the executive subdirector of PREPA said, in a presser with reporters, that the power outage resulted from subcontractor Cobra Energy excavating a fallen electrical tower to prevent any further damage. “These are high voltages that the excavator should not get too close to,” he said in Spanish. Well, the excavator did, and the power loss was the result. This is the same subcontractor responsible for last week’s power outage when a tree fell on a power line.

González said the authority will not continue to work with Cobra, according to reporter Walter Soto León, who shared footage of the official speaking.


In better news, power has begun to return to municipalities like Toa Baja and Cataño, according to Telemundo. Arecibo, Maunabo, Naguabo, Mayagüez, Vieques, and Culebra also have service, according to PREPA.

Update 5:23 p.m.: Clients in Santurce and Guaynabo now have power, reports the power authority. The Central Unit in San Juan, in the meantime, is generating enough power to “normalize the electric system,” PREPA said on Twitter.


Update 4/19/18 8:32 a.m.: PREPA said on Twitter by 7 a.m., 1.1 million clients have power again throughout the island. Important to note, though, that that means 400,000 people still remain without power. At the time power was lost, more than 1.4 million customers had their lights back on. There’s still a lot of work to do.

Power also returned Wednesday evening to the Hiram Bithorn Stadium where a baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins was scheduled. The Indians won 6-1.


Meanwhile, President Trump still has remained silent (at least on Twitter) about this whole mess.

This is a developing story and Earther will update this post as more information is released.


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Yessenia Funes

I mostly write about how environmental policy and climate change intersect with race and class though I occasionally write about animals, science, and art, too. We all need an escape, right?

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