Hurricane Fiona caused a general blackout in Puerto Rico this Sunday, according to the company in charge of electricity transmission LUMA Energy, which announced that the total restoration of service “may take several days.”
“As a result of bad weather, including the 80 mph (130 km/h) winds from Hurricane Fiona, the electrical system has suffered several interruptions in transmission lines, which contributed to an island-wide blackout,” he reported in Twitter LUMA.
Fiona, a category 1 hurricane, is strengthening and can cause “catastrophic” flooding in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest bulletin.
LUMA explained that the weather conditions are “extremely dangerous and are hindering” their ability to fully assess the situation.
“Due to the magnitude and scope of the blackout, as well as the effects of Hurricane Fiona, it may take several days to fully restore electrical service,” the company warned.
For his part, the Puerto Rican Governor, Pedro Pierluisi, confirmed that LUMA Energy and the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) indicate that “due to the effect of the hurricane, the electrical system is currently out of service.”
“The protocols have been activated according to the plans established to address this situation. Both LUMA and PREPA personnel are active and ready to respond to the situation once conditions allow,” he added.
Puerto Rico’s power grid is very fragile, especially since Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island five years ago and wiped out all of its power lines, leaving much of the population in the dark for months.
Also last April there was a general blackout throughout the island due to a fire at a plant and the restoration of service lasted several days.