Hurricane Fiona has left most of the entire island of Puerto Rico without power, as electricity is slowly restored to residents.
As of Monday at around 6:00 a.m., approximately 1.31 million customers out of 1.46 million had no power, according to data from LUMA via Poweroutage.us.
LUMA is the island’s private electricity provider that is responsible for power distribution and transmission.
Fiona made landfall on the U.S. territory on Sunday, as 30 inches of rain were recorded on some areas of the island, leaving catastrophic flooding and mudslides, Reuters reported. One person, aged 70 years old, has been confirmed dead after his generators exploded on him while attempting to start it.
Governing authorities have confirmed multiple roads, bridges, and other infrastructure were washed out or damaged due to the storm.
Approximately 750,000 LUMA customers are without water service, too, according to the Washington Post.
The landfall of Maria comes almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria, a disastrous category four storm that killed approximately 3,000 people. It took months to restore the island’s electrical grid following the storm.
At a press conference on Sunday, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluis (D) said that it would only be a matter of days for power to be restored on the island, unlike Maria in 2017. However, he did not give an exact timeline of when the electrical grid would be running again for all customers on the island.
While Pierluis was speaking to reporters, the lights went out.
As Puerto Rico‘s governor was briefing the island ahead of Fiona‘s impact the lights went out. The governor has already said LUMA Energy – the private company in charge of transmission & distribution of electricity on the island – is on probation with him. pic.twitter.com/YVEnPPcnZp
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 17, 2022
The Biden administration approved Puerto Rico’s emergency declaration on Sunday, allowing the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to assist with disaster relief efforts.
Fiona also slammed the Dominican Republic on Monday. It is expected to travel north toward the Atlantic Ocean.
As the island grapples with a near-total blackout in power, Puerto Rico joined the 50 states and Washington D.C. in August to submit plans to the Biden Administration to help build a nationwide electric vehicle charging network.
Puerto Rico’s electrical grid problem comes as the nation’s largest state, California, experienced an energy crisis this summer. Officials in the golden state begged residents to use less electricity by issuing Flex Alerts to avoid rolling blackouts.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.
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