Puerto Rico Blackout: 3.5 Million Still Without Electricity

Viva

As Puerto Rico seeks to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt, the island is hit with an outage, causing 3.5 million of its residents to be without electricity.

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Maintenance crews worked through Wednesday night (Sept. 21) trying to restore power after a fire at a power plant blacked out the entire U.S. commonwealth, reports The Wall Street Journal. Officials hoped to restore service by Thursday morning, but some schools canceled classes for precautionary measures. Even the island’s largest public hospital canceled elective surgeries and non-urgent appointments as government officials and private groups postponed countless of scheduled arrangements.

“This is a very serious event,” said Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla. “The system is not designed to withstand a failure of this magnitude.”

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Natives doubt that electricity for the island will return anytime soon, saying the economic crisis has affected basic government services. The masses have taken to social media to lambaste the Electric Power Authority, noting they already pay bills on average twice that of the U.S. mainland.