One million people still without electricity in Puerto Rico after Fiona

One million people still without electricity in Puerto Rico after Fiona

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An estimated one million homes and businesses remained without power in Puerto Rico Thursday morning after Hurricane Fiona struck Sunday, causing an island-wide blackout for its 3.3 million residents.

Hurricane Fiona is now heading toward Bermuda and then eastern Canada as a major hurricane with speeds of up to 130 miles per hour (215 kilometers per hour). The storm killed at least eight people.

Fiona hit Puerto Rico five years after Hurricane Maria completely wiped out the island in 2017.

Poweroutages.com, which estimates power outages based on utility data, said 1.033 million customers were out of service early Thursday based on what it described as limited information available from LUMA Energy, which operates the Puerto Rican grid.

According to Poweroutages.com, nearly 1.168 million people were without power early Wednesday out of a total of 1.468 million customers.

This recovery pace was much faster than after Maria when all 1.5 million customers had no power for a week when the bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was still on the grid.

The PREPA process took about 11 months to return energy to all clients, but Maria was much stronger than Fiona.

Maria struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph, while Fiona struck as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 mph.

LUMA Energy said late Wednesday that it had restored service to nearly 376,000 customers. “Full recovery may take several days,” LUMA said.

LUMA is a unit-owned joint venture of Canadian energy company ATCO Ltd (50%) and a US energy contractor Quanta Services You (NYSE 🙂 (50%).

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PREPA still owns much of Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure. LUMA won a contract to operate the network in 2020 and began operating the system in 2021.

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