Puerto Rico power slowly being restored after widespread outage

Amos Herrera
September 23, 2016

Jenniffer González Colón of the New Progressive Party called for President Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency in Puerto Rico, Telemundo reported.

A power outage on the island has left almost 1.5 million people without power, according to a statement from the government-run electric company AEE.

Motorists illuminate a storefront with their headlights as they drive in to buy bread after a massive blackout, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016.

AEE Director Javier Quintana said the company is integrating small units of gas turbines into the system and, barring any mishaps, more than half of the island could have power by the end of Thursday.

"I feel a little concerned because of the safety, because when things like this happen, people can get out of their minds and stuff", said Castro. But it will be Friday before almost all of the power company's 1.5 million customers are reconnected, said Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who declared a state of emergency. Rolling power outages are expected to continue as repairs occur, FEMA said. "The system is not created to withstand a failure of this magnitude". Puerto Ricans faced another night of darkness Thursday as crews slowly restored electricity a day after a fire at a power plant c.

The vast majority of Puerto Ricans don't have generators.

"This is a very serious event", Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said. Businesses closed, long queues formed at petrol stations and rooms quickly filled at hotels with generators. Many Puerto Ricans dragged mattresses out to balconies and porches to spend the night outside, doing what they could to ward off mosquitoes in the still air.

It was not yet clear how much damage the fire caused or where the power company would obtain the money to fix or buy new equipment.

The company said in a press release that no injuries had been reported and the fire was controlled.

The electricity provider is in the process of restructuring $9 billion of debt. Elsewhere, people crouched around power outlets at generator-powered supermarkets and malls to charge cellphones. Company officials have said they are seeking revenue to update outdated equipment.

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