Power largely restored after Puerto Rico blackout

Attached Image Josh Tomlin

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.

Several large power outages have hit Puerto Rico in recent months, but Wednesday was the first time since the hurricane struck September 20 that the US territory has experienced a full island-wide blackout.

Mammoth Energy, the parent company of Cobra, said in a statement to ABC News "Cobra is dedicated to the hard work that lies ahead and continues to work around-the-clock with PREPA and the citizens of Puerto Rico to fix the entire infrastructure system to prevent outages such as this one from affecting the entire population on the island". It could take as long as 36 hours to restore electricity to everyone, according to PREPA, the highly indebted company that generates and delivers all public power on the island. Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of the capital of San Juan, said the outage would not interrupt the last of a two-game series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins, which is being played on the island. The cause of the blackout was due to a contractor who had been working to remove a collapsed tower when the bulldozer hit a power line.

"This is the second power failure that has affected the people of Puerto Rico in less than a week", he said in the statement. "We are prepared. Every area of Hiram Bithorn Stadium can run on generators that have a capacity to run for 48 hours", Blakeman said. "That is not normal", he said.

During Thursday's meeting, some government officials said they might consider labor reforms and other measures in the future if needed, an idea that was rejected by board members.

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Electric Power Authority spokeswoman Yohari Molina tells The Associated Press that crews are investigating the cause.

"These plans offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do things right and turn these trends around", board chairman Jose Carrion said, alluding to years of economic decline, excessive borrowing and fiscal mismanagement followed by the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.

Right now, all of the focus is on bringing the main generators back online. but this is a frustrating time not only for the relief workers but for the citizens themselves, since almost 40,000 are still without normal electricity as a result of Hurricane Maria.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has spent $2.1 billion on restoring power on the island, where 80 percent of the distribution lines were damaged during the hurricane.

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

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