One million still without power in Puerto Rico after Fiona
NEW YORK (Reuters) – An estimated 1 million homes and businesses remain without power in Puerto Rico Thursday morning after Hurricane Fiona hit on Sunday, causing an island-wide power outage for its roughly 3.3 million people.
Hurricane Fiona is now heading toward Bermuda and then eastern Canada as a major hurricane with winds of up to 130 miles per hour (215 kilometers per hour). The storm has killed at least eight people.
Fiona hit Puerto Rico five years after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island in 2017.
Poweroutages.com, which estimates power outages based on utility data, said 1.033 million customers were without service early Thursday based on what it called limited information available from LUMA Energy, which operates Puerto Rico’s grid.
There were roughly 1.168 million without power early Wednesday out of 1.468 million total customers, according to Poweroutages.com.
That pace of restoration is much faster than after Maria when almost all 1.5 million customers had no power for a week when the now bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was still operating the grid.
Satellite images show Puerto Rico destruction
STORY: Satellite images provided by Maxar showed various damaged bridges in Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Fiona hit as a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday (September 18). Large parts of the island was flooded, with some 40% of the island’s 3.3 million residents without water and 75% without power.Puerto Rico suffered from the devastating Hurricane Maria five years ago, in 2017. The Category 4 storm killed 3,000 people and left the entire island without power for a week.U.S. President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration on Wednesday for the island, which makes federal funding available for people affected by the storm. The hurricane is expected to strengthen as it moves north toward Bermuda.
It took PREPA about 11 months to restore power to all customers, but Maria was a much more powerful storm than Fiona.
Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph, while Fiona hit as a Category 1 storm with winds of 85 mph.
LUMA Energy said late Wednesday that it had restored service to nearly 376,000 customers. LUMA has said “full restoration could take several days.”
LUMA is a joint venture owned by units of Canadian energy firm ATCO Ltd (50%) and U.S. energy contractor Quanta Services Inc (50%).
PREPA still owns much of Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure. LUMA won a contract to operate the grid in 2020 and started managing that system in 2021.