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‘This Is An Apocalypse’: Puerto Rico Endures 2nd Night Without Electricity; State Of Emergency Declared

‘This Is An Apocalypse’: Puerto Rico Endures 2nd Night Without Electricity; State Of Emergency Declared

Image source: Pixabay.com

Most of Puerto Rico endured a second night without electricity Thursday following the total collapse of the island’s power grid.

All it took was a fire at one power plant Wednesday to shut down a grid that provides power to 1.5 million homes and businesses – or 3.5 million people. Of the 1.5 million homes and businesses, about 390,000 had power restored by Thursday evening.

“This is an apocalypse,” resident Jose Tavela told the Associated Press.

The blackout left traffic lights, grocery stores and gas stations – essentials of a modern life – inoperable.

“Puerto Rico back to the stone age,” @ApagonPR tweeted.

State of Emergency Declared

Puerto Rico’s governor urged caution and declared a state of emergency. He also activated the National Guard.

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“Given that the system is so old, numerous setbacks could occur,” Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said during a press conference. “The system is not designed to withstand a failure of this magnitude.”

The power outage threw the island into chaos and caused at least 15 fires due to faulty generators. No one was hurt in the fires, but at least one person died because of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator, USA Today reported.

Long lines formed outside gas stations and at hotels that did have generators, AP reported. Many people were sleeping outside on mattresses because air conditioning was no longer available. In the capital of San Juan, commuters were stuck because subway trains were not running.

“Puerto Rico is not prepared for something like this,” resident Celestino Ayala Santiago said. Santiago spent Wednesday night sleeping in his car because it was too hot inside.

With traffic lights out, police had to direct traffic the old-fashioned way — by hand. Employees at the international airport were reduced to filling out tickets by hand.

The electricity went out after a fire at a major power plant in Salinas knocked out two transmission lines. That tripped circuit breakers, causing the entire system to shut down.

Aging Infrastructure Sparked Blackout

Puerto Rico’s grid, like that in much of the mainland United States, is outdated. The utility is $9 billion in debt and lacked the funds to update it. Padilla’s political rival, Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon of the New Progressive Party, had a solution: Ask Washington for help.

“On behalf of the 3.4 million American citizens residing in Puerto Rico, I asked the president to declare Puerto Rico an emergency zone, which empowers the federal government to use its resources to stabilize the electrical system of Puerto Rico and so guarantee service to citizens,” Colon said in a press release.

Many Puerto Ricans were outraged because they already pay electric bills that are twice the average on the US mainland. Many of them took to social media to demand where their money is going, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

Perhaps those of us on the mainland should be asking the same question?

Do you think the U.S. is prepared for a major blackout? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Extended Blackouts? Read More Here.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for bringing this to light

  2. What it hasn’t published is how well the police officers, firefighters and rest has collaborated to bring everything back together. Access a website from Puerto Rico to know the recent news and facts. This is all so fabricated with the intention to alarm people in a negative way. GetitRight!

    • Yes, policemen and others have been doing a great job in this situation but this articles reflects the truth, I don’t see it as fabricated as you do. The only error I see here is about the “subway” thing cause El Tren Urbano is not a subway.

  3. I took the outage as a learning experience in matters of constellations and stars. The night sky was cleared. Perfect for that purpose.

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