Salem Radio Network News Sunday, February 5, 2023

World

Some 503,000 still without power in Puerto Rico after Fiona

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An estimated 503,000 homes and businesses were still without power in Puerto Rico on Tuesday after Hurricane Fiona hit on Sept. 18 and caused an island-wide power outage for its 3.3 million people.

After hitting Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Fiona turned north and slammed into eastern Canada over the weekend where it left more than a third Nova Scotia without power.

Fiona hit Puerto Rico about five years after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island.

PowerOutage.us, which estimates outages based on utility data, said 503,000 customers were without service on Tuesday based on information from LUMA Energy, which operates Puerto Rico’s grid.

There were about 600,000 customers without power Monday afternoon out of 1.468 million total customers, according to PowerOutage.us.

That pace of restoration is much faster than after Maria – when almost all 1.5 million customers had no power for a week. At that time the now bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was still operating the grid.

It took PREPA about 11 months to restore power to all customers, but Maria was a much more powerful storm than Fiona.

Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph, while Fiona hit as a Category 1 storm with winds of 85 mph.

LUMA Energy said on Monday it restored service to nearly 877,800 customers and said expects to have 77%-91% of customers restored by Friday if there is sufficient generation available from PREPA and other private generators.

LUMA is a joint venture owned by units of Canadian energy firm ATCO Ltd (50%) and U.S. energy contractor Quanta Services Inc (50%).

PREPA still owns much of Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure. LUMA won a contract to operate the grid in 2020 and started managing that system in 2021.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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