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  • A resident of La Chorrera neighbourhood tries to fix an electrical grid as the island's fragile power system is still reeling from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria eight months ago, in Utuado, Puerto Rico May 11, 2018.

    A resident of La Chorrera neighbourhood tries to fix an electrical grid as the island's fragile power system is still reeling from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria eight months ago, in Utuado, Puerto Rico May 11, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 August 2018

The biggest blackouts usually happened in densely populated regions with vulnerable power lines and generators.

Puerto Rico’s electric utility said it has completed restoration of power to all of its customers on Tuesday, more than ten months after Hurricane Maria left 1.5 million homes and businesses in the dark.

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Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria Death Toll Climbs From 64 To 1400

In a message on Twitter, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) said it had restored power to the last customer that was still offline, a family in Ponce, on the island’s southern side.

Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September and the bankrupt utility struggled to restore service to its customers.

In May, the U.S. federal agency tasked with restoring electricity to Puerto Rico left the island although thousands still had no power heading into the next hurricane season starting next month.

Only a last-minute request from the governor of the island, bemoaning the “fragile state” of the power grid, managed to keep most of the generators brought by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Puerto Rican soil for another six months.

The remaining generators might help keep the lights on for hospitals or police stations if the island gets hit again during the coming hurricane season, which began June 1.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last September, leaving 1.5 million homes and businesses in the dark. Both the island’s power utility and the Trump Administration’s Federal Emergency Management Agency were criticized for a slow response.

Extreme weather conditions, such as the hurricanes and typhoons, hit every part of the power grid, and its effects can compound. Another issue which has gravely impacted the repair conditions in Puerto Rico is the remote location, as is the case with many of the places recording these disasters which makes it even harder for the repair supplies to reach in time. 

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