New major outage affects several Puerto Rico municipalities
SAN JUAN – A 230-kilovolt transmission line failure at around 11 a.m. Thursday left thousands of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) customers without service. The utility said after 3 p.m. that it was able to energize the wire.
“We are…turning on the San Juan units and the Palo Seco [power complex] peaking units to normalize the system as it was before the transmission line failure,” Prepa Director Ricardo Ramos said in a release, which adds that “personnel should complete the operation tonight to begin normalizing the service achieved so far.”
The failed line, which runs from Arecibo to Manatí, mostly affected the island’s metro area. Users on social media reported having lost power in Toa Baja’s Levittown, Bayamón, Guaynabo, Hato Rey, Condado, the ports area, Caguas, Mayagüez, and other areas.
Places such as the Plaza Las Américas shopping mall had already announced closing for the rest of the day. It was also reported that the international airport in Carolina was operating with generators again.
The president of Prepa’s Irrigation & Electrical Workers Union, Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, said the affected line is the same Whitefish Energy Holdings had been working on. The contract with the firm was canceled last week.
Avería en línea de 230KV de Cambalache a Manatí. Municipios del norte se han visto afectados. Ya tenemos personal atendiendo la situación. CC6
— AEE (@AEEONLINE) November 9, 2017
The percentage of power generation Thursday at 6 a.m. was at 43.2%, according to Prepa’s last posting on the status.pr government site, but Prepa’s director of generation, Justo González, said in a Facebook video that generation had dropped to 18% after the failure.
In a WKAQ 580 radio interview earlier Thursday, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares reiterated the goals he has set to achieve 50% of generating capacity by Nov. 15 and 95% by Dec. 15. He highlighted the increase in grid-repair crews on the island in collaboration with the U.S. Corps of Engineers and with personnel from Florida and New York.
“I know it’s frustrating, but the truth is there are people working [on the grid]. Everyone is working to repair the electrical system,” he said when defending the management of the 50-day emergency following the devastating impact of Hurricane María.