Puerto Rico Fires A Contractor That Accidentally Cut Power To The Entire Island

An island-wide blackout hit Puerto Rico Wednesday after a worker accidentally hit a power line while trying remove a downed tower, NBC News reports.

The blackout hit about a week after 840,000 people lost power from a tree falling on a main power line supplying Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan. Major functions of the island were shut down such as the international airport and a major hospital.

Dgrimm, subcontracted through the company Cobra, was fired after the blackout. Dgrimm was hired to help repair the damaged grid and warned to review its security practices after last week’s outage. The company was cut from further work after the accident, according to NBC News.

Puerto Rico has suffered numerous setbacks and blackouts in repairing the island’s grid since Hurricane Maria knocked out power to the nearly every resident nearly seven months ago. The grid remains unreliable and highly vulnerable.

The main source of power for Puerto Rico’s hospitals, emergency services, water pumps and correctional facilities is 1,200 generators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The power grid has been restored enough to provide electricity to the vast majority of the island’s residents, but service is often interrupted by blackouts that can last a day or longer, The Washington Post reports.

Wednesday’s blackout was the first time since Maria that the entire island’s grid has gone down, a worrying sign to residents still recovering from the hurricane. About 40,000 resident still lacked power on Thursday, according to NBC News.

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