Puerto Rico to sever relationship with contractor after island-wide power outage

Puerto Rico back in darkness after island-wide blackout

The power outage is affecting the entire island, according to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). According to media reports the accident, which involved an excavator used by a subcontracted company hired to restore power on the island in the wake of massive damage caused by Hurricane Maria, occurred in the southeast of the country.

Justo González, an executive deputy director of the power authority, said Wednesday that the blackout was caused by a private contractor when a bulldozer downed a transmission line while trying to remove a collapsed tower.

A blackout hit Puerto Rico this morning, knocking out power all over the island.

M - After seven months and close to $2.5 billion, nearly everybody in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico had their lights back on - until a freak accident on Wednesday plunged the entire island once again into darkness, NYTimesreported.

"Seven months after Maria, we are back where Maria left us", Cynthia Garcia Coll, a professor at Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, said via email. 870,000 customers lost electricity after a tree fell on a power line last week, PREPA said. The equipment was being operated by a subcontractor for Cobra Acquisitions. "One of the best ways people can support Puerto Rico is by visiting - staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, enjoying our Island's activities, and buying from local businesses". "Visitors that travel to Puerto Rico should not be concerned about their travel plans being affected", the statement adds.

"This is all very worrisome, obviously, as we approach another hurricane season", said Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told USA Today. Outdated power grids like the one in Puerto Rico are becoming less reliable so southern US states such as Texas, Florida, and Louisiana as well as Caribbean Islands started to show more interest in solar energy.

In response to the controversy, the government of Puerto Rico canceled the contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings on October 29, 2017. While removing the fallen tower, the excavator got too close to the fallen tower that created a current between the energized transmission line and the excavator.

It is the first island-wide power outage since the storm.

In response to the criticism of its work, Cobra Acquisitions said it will continue to work "around the clock" with PREPA and residents of Puerto Rico to fix the entire infrastructure system that could "prevent outages such as this one from affecting the entire population on the island". "Rebuilding the generating capability of Puerto Rico was not the Corps of Engineers' task".

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