Puerto Rico's troubled power utility is attempting to overhaul its grid and is already off to a terrible start.
More than 337,000 customers were plunged into darkness across the Caribbean island and unincorporated U.S. territory late Wednesday. Infuriating many customers after a cyberattack and major fire resulted in a massive outage last week.
According to AP News, Luma Energy, a private company that is now managing the island's power transmission and distribution system, had "three units were knocked offline for reasons not immediately known."
Perhaps local news NotiCentro's "V. Torres Montalvo" has uncovered the source of the power outage:
"Unit 6 of Costa Sur, which went out of service more than an hour ago, spewing smoke. For this reason there are approximately 150 thousand customers without electricity."
[VÍDEO] La Unidad 6 de Costa Sur, que salió de servicio hace más de una hora, botando humo. Por esta razón hay aprox 150 mil clientes sin luz.— V. Torres Montalvo 🧼 (@Motinsitepegas) June 17, 2021
Vídeo vía el compañero @riverasaniel. pic.twitter.com/JlAaaCdTAp
Wednesday's outage came hours after Luma told customers that services would be disrupted as it attempts to overhaul the grid. The power company is improving the island's electrical system, ravaged after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the latest cyberattack and substation fire.
Solving rolling blackouts and outages are crucial to lifting the U.S. territory out of a deep economic slump and preventing a further population decline.
Victoria Pérez, who lives in the capital of San Juan, told AP that her power goes out two to three times a week. She said outages had worsened this year.
Pérez said her household has resorted to a generator to keep the refrigerator working. She said the current power outages are like "Maria all over again."
Several mayors across Puerto Rico have declared states of emergency as the outages worsen.
Luma is still probing what caused a large fire at the primary substation last week.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico's population is in collapse, down 12% in a decade. People are fleeing the island as the economy spirals down, contracting some 17% since 2008.
The hope is that a revitalization of the grid via Luma Energy will stabilize the power supply and bring people back to the island. But for now, the power grid system is very fragile as the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season begins.
Wonder how Peter Schiff is faring in these difficult times?