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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Puerto Rico turns to dark again

Por Feco

About five months after Hurricane Maria, the economy of Puerto Rico had shown signs of resilience and the labor market had seemed to stabilize, according to El Nuevo Dia. However, there is still uncertainty about the demographic situation and a good part of the population continues without electric service, the latter a sensitive issue affecting residents in a hard manner.

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) informed this afternoon that the electric service is returning for the sectors that were affected today by a massive blackout. "Line 50200 from Manatí to Bayamón and line 50900 from the Transmission Center of Bayamón to Aguas Buenas are already in service," the agency reported on its official Twitter account. "Medical Center, LMM Airport, San Pablo Hospitals, Pavia Hato Rey and Santurce, Ashford, El Maestro, Metropolitano, Professional, Regional of Bayamón and Carolina Regional, already have electric service ... We continue working ...", it was tweeted at 2: 11 pm today.

Earlier, PREPA had reported that technical personnel were looking for the fault on the 50900 line that caused the blackout in a large part of the country's east and metro zone near 11:30 a.m. In its Twitter account, PREPA added that it was looking to reestablish the service this afternoon and that, in addition, they review the protection systems of line 50200, which goes from Manatí to Bayamón, to begin uploading the service. The blackout occurred on line 50900, from Aguirre to Aguas Buenas. The units of the San Juan and Palo Seco plants were shut down as a precaution. Officials added that "this event affects sectors of the metro area, Caguas, Bayamón and Carolina, the units of the San Juan and Palo Seco plants went out of service for the protection of the system."

Users on social networks have reported that the service basically collapsed in most of the villages. Despite the fact that PREPA reported that the blackout did not affect the southern and western regions of the island, citizens in the social networks said that parts of Mayagüez and Ponce have no electricity either. Since Hurricane Maria beat the island last September, leaving more than 800,000 subscribers without service, the blackouts are frequent and sometimes, at the level of certain sectors, almost daily, due, among others, to the instability of the network.

Puerto Ricans are also complaining about maintenance works in the electrical system which does not have enough quality as to last for prolonged periods. A user identified as Nelson Rivera published in Primera Hora: “I've been saying it for a long time ... these repairs are being made lightly and what they do does not work ... that's why those things happen ... that's going to be our life from now on ...get used to it!”. Certainly, the situation for Puerto Ricans does not seem to find a light elsewhere.