Puerto Rico sees power outage

  • 08 Apr 2022
  • Kieran

On the same day The BCI published an article on energy resiliency[1], Puerto Rico saw more than 1 million customers left without electricity after an incident at a critical power plant resulted in the largest scale blackout so far this year for the territory. It currently seems likely that the outage was caused by a failed circuit breaker at the plant.

The disruption has resulted in the cancellation of public school services while some non-essential government services were also closed. Alongside this, the loss of power has reportedly resulted in 160,000 customers being left without water[2].

Those left without an energy supply have been turning to diesel-powered generators as an alternative. In this circumstance it’s critical that essential organizations and businesses, such as hospitals, have generators or other alternative power supplies to keep services operational.

As an organization, having an alternative source of power is particularly necessary when the electricity system is unstable and prone to outages following disruption. The New York Times reports that LUMA Energy took over power distribution and power transmission in Puerto Rico last year[3] in an attempt to reduce the number of power outages seen in the territory through a programme of maintenance and modernization. The work was hoped to prepare the electricity network for emergencies and extreme weather but it still appears to have a certain level of fragility.

Looking ahead, the island’s hurricane season is fast approaching and lasts from June to November, with the extreme weather holding the potential for further power disruption. Residents and organizations based in the country will therefore be hoping that power is restored swiftly and measures to introduce a more resilient power network are delivered. Regardless if improvements are introduced, the outages have demonstrated the importance of having an alternative power supply on standby to ensure critical operations can keep running in the case of disruption.

 

[1] https://www.thebci.org/news/improving-resilience-in-energy-supply.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/07/puerto-rico-power-outage

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/07/us/puerto-rico-power-outage.html

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About the author

Kieran Matthews

Content Creator, The BCI