Almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico in the dark, the US territory is once again facing an energy crisis. On Sunday, LUMA Energy, the company that operates the island’s power grid, announced that all of Puerto Rico had suffered a blackout due to Hurricane Fiona, reports Reuters.
With the storm approaching the southwest coast of the island, the National Hurricane Center warned of ‘catastrophic’ flooding when Fiona began to produce winds with recorded speeds of 85 miles per hour. Even before making landfall at 3:20 pm local time, the storm left a third of LUMA’s customers without power. On Twitter, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said the government was working to restore power, but after the events of five years ago, there is concern there will be no easy fix.
In 2017, Hurricane Maria caused the largest blackout in US history when the Category 5 storm hit Puerto Rico, leaving 3.4 million people without power. The island had recently begun to rebuild its ailing infrastructure, with daily blackouts in some areas. Officials have tried to emphasize that Hurricane Fiona will not bring a repeat of 2017. “This is not Maria, this hurricane will not be Maria,” Abner Gomez, head of public safety and crisis management at LUMA Energy, he told CNN before the blackout on Sunday. At the moment, the company estimates it may take several days to restore power and asked customers for “patience” as it works to respond to the natural disaster.
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