SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Thursday September 22, 2016 – Almost a third of Puerto Rico’s population remained without electricity this morning after a fire at a power station yesterday caused a blackout.
Nearly 1.5 million customers of the state-run electric company were affected, and by this morning, power had only been restored to about 131,000 customers.
PUERTO RICO: Nationwide blackout reported in all of PR due to a massive fire at power plant, leaving 1.5 million people without power. VIDEO pic.twitter.com/bnM59irSv3
— KolHaolam (@KolHaolam) September 21, 2016
“This is a very serious event,” Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said, noting that the outage also shut off water service for about 340,000 people.
“The system is not designed to withstand a failure of this magnitude. I assume complete responsibility. Everyone knows that the company’s maintenance problems began decades ago.”
He added that it was expected power would be back on for most people sometime this afternoon, but made it clear that should not be interpreted as a promise.
“I don’t want to give false expectations. Lots of setbacks may occur,” the Governor said.
Yesterday’s power outage forced businesses, schools and government offices to shut early. And today, schools all across the Caribbean island remained closed.
The Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport continues to operate, but Garcia Padilla said passengers are being checked in manually to preserve power.