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Friday, December 22, 2017

Three months and counting, most of Puerto Rico's still without power

Posted By on Fri, Dec 22, 2017 at 4:03 PM

When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September, it knocked out 100 percent of electricity on the island, leaving more than 3.4 million people in the dark — and in more than one way, now.

With the original deadline having been increased from Christmas to sometime in March 2018, if even then, Puerto Ricans have been met with a light at the end of the tunnel that's only getting increasingly further away.

It's the reason behind the island's massive exodus (as of earlier this week, more than 259,000 Puerto Ricans had arrived in Florida alone), and it's an become an event that's stapled itself into the books as the longest blackout in American history.

But one of the most frustrating aspects about the whole ordeal is the fact that even though about 27,000 workers have been brought in to help restore the power grid, without the necessary supplies to do so, they've been left with little more to do than twiddle their thumbs.

"I can count with one hand the times we've seen [repair] brigades work in our streets," Carmen Maldonado, mayor of Morovis, Puerto Rico, a city of about 33,000 people, told the Daily Beast. "The economy has plummeted, our elders are in need of medical care and schools are barely operating."

It's the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who's in charge. However, with only about 9,100 of the 52,000 needed transmission posts having arrived at this point, there's reportedly more hands than supplies to get the job done.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's original goal was to restore power at least 95 percent of power across the island by Dec. 15. In reality, though, only about 65 percent of the island has regained its electrical grid, with power outages still regularly hitting metropolitan areas in the island's northern region, the Daily Beast reports.

By comparison with the the restoration project in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Army Corps have only completed 34 percent of the awnings needed to temporarily repair homes in Puerto Rico, as compared to the Virgin Islands having already hit the 100 percent mark.

Adding to that, the Army Corps have reportedly said it has reached the 99 percent mark in the installation of portable power generators needed to provide electricity in areas of the Virgin Islands. In Puerto Rico, that same number stands at only 76 percent.

A tweet by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lays out the figures below: 

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