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Puerto Rico’s Power Outage Enters Second Night

Repair crews work to restore electricity to Puerto Rico's 3.5 million people after a power plant fire blacked out the entire U.S. territory.

Vehicle lights illuminate a street after a massive blackout, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2016. Puerto Ricans faced another night of darkness Thursday as crews slowly restored electricity a day after a fire at a power plant caused the aging utility grid to fail and blacked out the entire island.

 

 

The Electric Power Authority said investigators were trying to determine what caused the fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon. The blaze began at a switch and caused two transmission lines of 230,000 volts each to fail.

Carlos Giusti / AP
Flor Dalisa Contreras talks with Virginia Rivas at a coffee shop during a power outage that affected several areas in the country, Sept. 21. ALVIN BAEZ / Reuters

Cars sit in a traffic jam as traffic lights were down due to the power outage, Sept. 21.

ALVIN BAEZ / Reuters
Edgardo Colon picks up his gas container after filling it with diesel for his generator, Sept. 22. Carlos Giusti / AP

People wait in line to buy ice, Sept. 22.

 

 

The outage was the latest hit for an island mired in a decade-long economic crisis and whose government has warned it is running out of money as it seeks to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt.

 

Many Puerto Ricans expressed doubts that power would be restored quickly, saying the economic slump has affected basic government services. Hundreds of people took to social media to criticize the Electric Power Authority, noting that they already pay bills on average twice that of the U.S. mainland.

Carlos Giusti / AP
People buy ice during a massive blackout. Carlos Giusti / AP
The employee of a drug store hangs up a portable gas lantern, Sept. 22. ALVIN BAEZ / Reuters
A client enters a drugstore during a power outage in Puerto Rico, Sept. 22. ALVIN BAEZ / Reuters
People use an ATM machine at a shopping mall during a power outage that affected several areas in the country, Sept. 21. ALVIN BAEZ / Reuters
A general view of a blackout during a power outage across several areas in the country, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept 21. ALVIN BAEZ / Reuters