Speed Reads

the power's still out in puerto rico

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

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.

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.