Just before 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 11, much of northern Puerto Rico lost power after an explosion and fire occurred at an electrical substation in Monacillo, located just outside the capital of San Juan. The explosion knocked two substations offline, but San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz said no injuries were reported.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) says the incident caused several highly populated areas to lose power, many of which had only recently had their electricity restored after damage from Hurricane Maria. More than 400,000 customers are still in the dark after the Category 4 hurricane hit Puerto Rico last year, causing an estimated $94 billion in damage and the longest blackout in United States history. Sunday's outage again highlights the challenges posed by the island's crumbling power grid. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced plans to privatize PREPA last month after its failure to fully restore power in the aftermath of Maria.
While it isn't immediately clear what caused the explosion, it was extinguished quickly, and PREPA is optimistic that power could be restored within a day. Electricity was back on at San Juan's international airport and a medical facility within hours.