Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without electricity

(CNN) – Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Puerto Rico were left without power Saturday, more than two days after the start of an island-wide blackout that began with a power plant fire.

The territory’s network operator said early Saturday morning that electricity had been restored to more than 1.3 million of the island’s nearly 1.5 million utility customers.

That knocked out power to nearly 500,000 homes and businesses, closed schools for two days and caused other disruptions to Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million residents.

Power grid operator LUMA Energy has failed to stick to each customer’s energy recovery schedule, according to an announcement on its website.

“We are continuing to make progress with the restoration, but due to the significant damage to the Costa Sur substation, we are not in a position to provide a full restoration estimate at this time,” said the energy supplier.

Kevin Acevedo, vice president of LUMA Energy, said an unspecified fault started a fire at the plant outside the southwestern coastal town of Guayanila about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, causing a blackout in Puerto Rico. Since then, firefighters have put out the flames.

All customers were without power at first, Jose Colon, the principal communications and infrastructure engineer in Puerto Rico, told reporters Thursday, “because all the generating units were separate.”

The exact cause was not immediately known. The utility company said.

“Every piece of equipment (in the factory switch yard) must be inspected and tested to ensure that when it is back in service, we can reliably and safely restore power to customers,” said Shai Behramirad, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Asset Management at LUMA. Energy told reporters in San Juan on Friday.

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The power outage also disrupted water service for tens of thousands of homes and businesses. Governor Pedro Pierluisi said:Quoted from Al Jazeera and the Sanitation Authority.

Puerto Rico has canceled classes Friday for students for the second day in a row. But principals, guardians and school cafeteria staff are still required to come to work on Friday, The island’s education department said.

Island courts have also been closed due to a power outage, although some court services will be available online for urgent matters such as mental health and injunctions, The district’s judicial system said.

All hospitals were working on Thursday afternoon, whether electricity was restored or they were running through a generator, Interior Minister Noelia García Bardales said.

Requisition of power plant spare parts, an official said

Thursday morning, The utility company said That the “massive island-wide blackout” could be “caused by a circuit breaker failure” at the Costa Sur plant.

A firefighter battles flames at the Costa Sur power plant on Wednesday.

The Puerto Rico Fire Department reported Wednesday that firefighters have put out the flames that affected two plant substations.

On Thursday morning, Acevedo said the cause of the fire was being investigated, adding that the crew was familiar with maintenance inspections.

Acevedo said a clean-up of the plant was already underway and spare parts had been identified and ordered.

LUMA is a joint venture between Quanta Services and Canadian energy company ATCO, which has selected the Puerto Rican government to take over powering the electric grid from its former electric utility, the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority. Rich. LUMA has been in charge of the power grid since 1 June.

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CNN’s Ravi Rivera, Stefano Pozibon, Michelle Watson, Rebecca Reis and Omar Fajardo contributed to this report.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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