Hurricane Fiona Knocks Out Puerto Rico Power Grid

Hurricane Fiona Knocks Out Puerto Rico Power Grid
National Guard patrols a flooded Puerto Rican neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. (Image: Puerto Rico National Guard, Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos)

By Gretchen Clayson

Hurricane Fiona landed on Puerto Rico Sunday bringing with it strong wind gusts and rain that knocked out power for the whole island.

Luma, the private consortium that manages Puerto Rico’s electrical transmission and distribution system, said the situation on the island was “extremely dangerous and impeding our ability to evaluate the entire situation,” the Washington Post reported. The company added it could take several days to restore power and asked customers for “patience,” according to the Post.

Luma came in to help manage Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure after the devastation caused by hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017, according to The Hill.  Since Luma took over operation in June 2021, island residents have been dealing with frequent blackouts and high energy costs, prompting many of them to protest the company, the outlet continued.  For the past 13 months, Puerto Ricans have taken to the streets, culminating in a violent clash last month that ended with tear gas being deployed, The Hill reported.

“We share the frustration our customers have over the fragile nature of Puerto Rico’s electric system, which has suffered from years – if not decades of mismanagement and neglect by the prior operator,” a LUMA spokesperson said in an email to Changing America, according to The Hill.

“The 3,000 men and women of LUMA are determined to rebuild the energy system and in just a little over a year, they have made significant progress in rebuilding, repairing and restoring the grid, including replacing thousands of poles, connecting tens of thousands of customers to solar and improving customer service,” they concluded.

Now as Fiona ravishes Puerto Rico’s shores, 100% – or more than 1.4 million Luma Customers have lost power, according to The Washington Post.

Clocking in as a Category 1 hurricane, Fiona made landfall Sunday afternoon causing “catastrophic” flooding throughout the island with 12-18 inches more expected, CNN reported.

Emanuel Rodriguez, a meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, stated that flooding was expected to continue overnight through Monday morning, as reported by the Washington Post. He added that at least 10 rivers had already flooded and advised residents to stay away from waterways.


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.