Puerto Rico officials say 80% of customers have power after latest blackout

Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor visits his former grammar school Villa Marina Elementary School in Gurabo Puerto Rico on Monday. Cleveland and Minnesota are playing two games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium

Puerto Rico back in darkness after island-wide blackout

An island-wide blackout has struck Puerto Rico, plunging the USA territory of more than 3 million citizens back into darkness more than seven months after local and federal officials began working to restore a fragile power grid demolished by Hurricane Maria.

Officials said it could take 24 to 36 hours to fully restore power to more than 1.4 million customers as outrage grew across the island about the state of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority.

The resulting electrical fault knocked out power to almost every home and business across the storm-battered American territory, authorities said, a catastrophic failure that could take up to 36 hours to restore.

"This is the second power failure that has affected the people of Puerto Rico in less than a week", he said in the statement. The local utility said it detected a failure on a prominent distribution line that connects a major generating station in the south of the island to substations in the north, where most of the population lives. CNN reported 51,000 customers have power so far out of 1.4 million across the island.

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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".

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The same subcontractor was also blamed for an outage last week to 870,000 customers triggered by a tree falling on a power line, according to Justo Gonzalez, deputy director of PREPA.

Hours into the blackout, the lights came on at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan for a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. This led to an electrical ground fault that caused the outage of the transmission circuit that caused the island-wide blackout. Since the hurricane tore from the island's southeast corner though the central mountains and out the northwest coast six months ago, several communities near Cayey remain without power.

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The U.S. Army's top engineer said in February that their role was never to completely rebuild the power system.

On Thursday morning, PREPA said electricity had been restored to more than 80 percent of the island, aside from the approximately 50,000 residents who were still waiting for power to return in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico's legislators are now debating whether to privatize the island's power authority, which is $14 in debt.

"They haven't given us any information", he said of power restoration crews.

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