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Powerline failure results in massive new Puerto Rico blackout

By on April 12, 2018

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) personnel had to from noon to 11 p.m.Thursday to restore service after an outage caused damage to a transmission line that runs from the South Coast generating plant to Aguas Buenas and Bayamón, leaving metropolitan area and eastern region customers in the dark.

In a series of tweets, the utility said the “event on line 50900 is keeping the Central San Juan and Palo Seco [power complexes] out of service,” and that “regions in San Juan and Carolina are out of service, while the Caguas and Bayamón regions have partial service.” It later explained that a tree fell on the line, causing the failure, while power restoration work was being performed in Cayey.

That power line is the same one that was repaired by Whitefish Energy, but whose contract was canceled after public outcry.

As of April 5, 4.8% of the Prepa’s customers, or some 67,000, had yet to have power restored since Hurricane Maria struck the island on Sept. 20. Thursday’s outage initially affected service to some 870,000, the utility said.

An operator at the San Juan Central plant, Jorge Bracero, shared on Facebook that “while the units power back up into the system each plant can take a process of 8 to 16 hours…because the units are hot, but voltage conditions, etc., have to be looked at to power each unit up one by one.”

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An analysis by the Rhodium Group, a data analytics and policy organization, believes the outage in the aftermath of Maria has become the second largest blackout in world history. It already considered the island’s the largest blackout in U.S. history. The impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines in 2013 is considered the largest blackout ever.

Rhodium’s analysis only “covers areas with power that lose it due to storms, infrastructure failures or other kinds of service disruptions.”


–CyberNews contributed to this report.

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