A blackout hit northern Puerto Rico late on 11 February after an explosion started a large fire at a main power substation. Officials with the island’s Electric Power Authority said that several municipalities were without power, including parts of San Juan. It is not yet known what caused the fire, although officials said that the explosion knocked two other substations offline and caused a total loss of 400 MW of capacity. The company said that it was trying to restore power as quickly as possible.
The blackout came as more than 400,000 power customers remain without power more than five months after Hurricane Maria. The Category 4 storm destroyed two-thirds of the island’s power distribution system and caused an estimated $100 billion in damage.
Puerto Rico’s Governor recently announced that he plans to privatise the state-owned power company, which is $9 billion in debt, and is relying on infrastructure that is nearly three times older than the industry average. It would be the largest restructuring of a public entity in US history.