Puerto Ricans remain without power (both electrical and in Congress) after an island-wide power outage plunged the disenfranchised colonial territory into darkness Wednesday evening.
Every customer on the main island lost electricity when “all the generating units went offline,” Josue Colon, Puerto Rico’s lead telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, told reporters, and more than one-third of Puerto Rican power customers were still in the dark Friday morning.
The initial failure was caused by a fire at the Costa Sur power plant outside Guayanilla. Puerto Rico’s grid was decimated by Hurricane Maria and has been plagued by unreliability as efforts to modernize the grid have struggled under the private U.S.-Canadian company that took over Puerto Rico’s grid last year.
Despite poor service, residents of Puerto Rico pay almost twice as much for electricity as customers on the U.S. mainland. “This is horrible,” Luisa Rosado, a San Juan mother of two told NBC. “To increase bills when you don’t provide a perfect service… the level of impunity is absurd.”
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