Another Power Outage Leaves Most Puerto Ricans In the Dark

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After Puerto Rico was ravaged by hurricanes previous year, most of the island's population lost power for an extended period of time as the grid was badly damaged. "It feels like the hurricane side effects will never end".

Roughly 80% of customers were out of the dark by 7 a.m. Thursday, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said on Twitter.

Puerto Rico's governor has called on the government-owned electric utility to end its relationship with the company that caused a power outage on Wednesday that knocked out electricity to the entire island.

Millions of residents in Puerto Rico are trying to adapt to what they are calling "the new normal", as the second islandwide blackout in a week left more than 1.3 million customers without electricity and reliable communications Wednesday.

Hospitals, banks and the San Juan airport were given priority ahead of homes and businesses for the restoration of power.

PREPA's interim director, Justo González, said Wednesday that Cobra Energy, a US private contractor, hit the transmission line with a crane, causing multiple power plants to shut down in quick succession. 870,000 customers lost electricity after a tree fell on a power line last week, PREPA said. Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is pushing a bill to privatize the power system.

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The new blackout occurred as Puerto Rico legislators debate a bill that would privatize the island's power company, which is $14 billion in debt and relies on infrastructure almost three times older than the industry average.

Authorities said the same contractor was involved in the two latest big power failures and had been fired. Wednesday was the first island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria tore through on September 20, 2017.

In February, Rossello told ABC News that he felt a lack of urgency from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in helping to restore power. He said Tesla already did similar work on smaller islands.

People wait to enter Hiram Bithorn Stadium for the final game of a two-game Mayor League Baseball series between the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians in San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 18, 2018. "The media has been really negligent in paying attention to an issue that is really, really important, that is life threatening to Puerto Ricans and that we know likely would never happen if it were happening somewhere on the mainland like Hurricane Harvey in Texas this fall", she said.

Macias added that private companies have stepped in to help with Puerto Rico's recovery.

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