BREAKING NEWS SE Minnesota man killed while working on farm machinery Full Story

Widespread power outage persists in Puerto Rico

In another blow to its recovery efforts, an island-wide power outage left most of Puerto Rico in the dark, with only ...

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 1:02 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 1:02 PM

In another blow to its recovery efforts, an island-wide power outage left most of Puerto Rico in the dark, with only a fraction of residents regaining electricity by Wednesday night.

The latest blackout prompted Gov. Ricardo Rossello to call on the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to cancel its contract with the subcontractor that caused the massive outage.

"I have suggested to the PREPA Board of Directors that they cancel the contract with the Cobra subcontractor who is directly responsible for this power outage," he said in a statement Wednesday.

An excavator operated by D. Grimm, a subcontractor for Cobra Acquisitions, apparently caused the blackout, according to the authority. Workers had been removing a fallen tower when the machine got too close to an energized line and an electrical ground fault caused the outage, according to Mammoth Energy, Cobra's parent company.

The same company was responsible for an outage that affected 870,000 customers after a tree fell on a power line last week, PREPA said.

"This is the second power failure that has affected the people of Puerto Rico in less than a week," Rossello said. "This incident denotes the need to transform PREPA into a cutting-edge, modern and robust corporation. This is another example of why Puerto Rico's energy infrastructure needs to incorporate new forms of power."

As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, only 334,000 customers in the US commonwealth had electricity again, according to a tweet from PREPA. It also said via Twitter that it's working to restore service through the island.

The game must go on

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. The Wednesday game lasted 16 innings before a sold-out crowd of 19,537, according to MLB.com.

Backup systems and mobile tower lights allowed the game to go on as planned, said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.

"Playball! Nothing will stop us," she tweeted.

Many watched the game then went to homes without electricity.

Power was to be restored to customers who had electricity before the latest outage within 24 to 36 hours, according to PREPA.

Most of the island had had its power restored as Puerto Rico began the process of rebuilding its decimated electrical grid after Hurricane Maria struck in September and knocked out power to nearly 1.4 million customers.

"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.

Is Puerto Rico ready for hurricane season?

Cruz worried that the latest outage signaled that Puerto Rico won't be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.

"Our electrical system is weak, at best," the mayor said Wednesday. "Today's blackout makes it painfully obvious that we are not yet ready for the coming hurricane season, which is only 43 days away."

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June through November. This season could be a slightly above average one, according to a preliminary forecast.

"Today's total power outage in Puerto Rico pinpoints the fact that we are still in a very fragile state," she said. "Moreover, the suffering of the Puerto Rican people seems to be nowhere nearing an end."

Puerto Rico has lost 3.4 billion customer-hours of electricity service due to Maria, according to an analysis released last week by the economic data analytics and policy firm Rhodium Group.

RELATED: Puerto Rico's power outage is now the second-largest blackout in history

It's the largest blackout in US history (in terms of customer hours) and the second largest in the world -- after the outage caused when Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines in 2013, killing more than 6,000 people.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 92100

Reported Deaths: 2037
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26264926
Ramsey10635318
Dakota7280125
Anoka5870132
Stearns386524
Washington365255
Scott248733
Olmsted234627
Nobles194316
Blue Earth16326
Wright15537
St. Louis145138
Carver13757
Clay131640
Rice13118
Mower13085
Sherburne111414
Kandiyohi9552
Winona85518
Lyon6614
Waseca5668
Steele5302
Freeborn5293
Benton5223
Nicollet51516
Watonwan5144
Todd4832
McLeod4702
Chisago4661
Crow Wing46418
Le Sueur4464
Otter Tail4074
Beltrami3885
Martin35710
Goodhue3449
Pine3070
Itasca29914
Polk2944
Douglas2782
Isanti2710
Becker2572
Carlton2461
Cottonwood2190
Unassigned21852
Morrison2161
Pipestone21610
Dodge2140
Chippewa2031
Meeker1892
Sibley1893
Brown1822
Wabasha1800
Yellow Medicine1692
Rock1620
Murray1562
Mille Lacs1533
Redwood1511
Cass1423
Jackson1371
Renville1367
Faribault1320
Swift1231
Houston1170
Koochiching1173
Roseau1170
Kanabec1168
Pennington1151
Fillmore1110
Lincoln1050
Stevens941
Pope900
Hubbard881
Aitkin741
Big Stone730
Wadena670
Grant594
Wilkin583
Lake570
Norman520
Marshall501
Lac qui Parle471
Mahnomen461
Red Lake401
Traverse290
Clearwater260
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 82537

Reported Deaths: 1289
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15571261
Woodbury517363
Johnson507327
Black Hawk442188
Linn3878109
Story336917
Dubuque298541
Scott287528
Dallas274138
Pottawattamie203338
Buena Vista195912
Marshall176834
Sioux14693
Wapello129657
Webster121314
Clinton109220
Plymouth109120
Muscatine109054
Crawford10425
Cerro Gordo101721
Warren9456
Jasper80232
Des Moines7517
Marion7465
Tama69931
Henry6554
Carroll6505
Lee6137
Wright5701
Dickinson5036
Boone4938
Bremer4757
Washington44911
Louisa42615
Mahaska36819
Delaware3653
Franklin34618
Hamilton3233
Jackson3173
Winneshiek3156
Floyd3103
Clay3094
Benton3021
Hardin2931
Winnebago28413
Lyon2804
Poweshiek2708
Butler2652
Buchanan2621
Clarke2623
Jones2583
Emmet25410
Allamakee2526
Shelby2501
Kossuth2490
Chickasaw2400
Guthrie2406
Clayton2373
Cedar2331
Sac2320
Cherokee2222
Grundy2183
Madison2092
Fayette2052
Iowa1971
Harrison1962
Mitchell1860
Howard1856
Humboldt1833
Calhoun1792
Hancock1772
Mills1731
Palo Alto1720
Pocahontas1562
Lucas1536
Monroe15310
Page1500
Cass1482
Osceola1460
Monona1441
Jefferson1351
Appanoose1293
Taylor1271
Union1263
Davis1224
Van Buren1121
Ida1100
Fremont1040
Worth1040
Keokuk1011
Greene990
Montgomery905
Wayne842
Audubon741
Adair681
Decatur660
Ringgold482
Adams330
Unassigned40
Rochester
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 58°
Mason City
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Albert Lea
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Austin
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Charles City
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Tracking more warmth before cooler weather arrives for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events