Explosion at a power facility plunges northern Puerto Rico back into darkness

Emergency vehicles stream toward Puerto Rico power plant
(Image credit: RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)

A fire and explosion at an electric substation Sunday night threw much of San Juan and northern Puerto Rico into darkness, even as more than 400,000 power customers in Puerto Rico still don't have their electricity back after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island territory in September. The government-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) said firefighters extinguished the flames quickly, no one was injured, and it's optimistic power will be restored by late Monday for most customers. Among those hit by the outage was San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who apparently is prepared for blackouts by this point.

See more

PREPA said the cause of the explosion is under investigation, but the larger problem is that the cash-strapped utility has not maintained or upgraded its aging electrical generation and distribution system. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said last month that he plans to sell off PREPA, which is worth roughly $4 billion and carries $9 billion in debt; The Associated Press says privatizing PREPA would be the largest restructuring of a public entity in U.S. history.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us