Puerto Rico’s power grid is a mess.
The island’s utility provider filed for a form of bankruptcy in July, and two months later Hurricane Irma passed just north of San Juan, knocking out power to nearly 1 million people and causing an estimated $1 billion in damage.
With thousands still without power, Hurricane Maria is approaching. It will likely be Puerto Rico’s first direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane since 1928.
“No generation has seen a hurricane like this since San Felipe II in 1928,” said Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló in a statement on Tuesday. “This is an unprecedented atmospheric system.”
“Certainly... the fiscal crisis has made PREPA [the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority] less financially prepared to do this on their own and the fact remains that this is part of the U.S,” Soto added.
Congress passed a Hurricane Harvey relief bill two weeks ago after Texas sustained billions in flood damage. The $15.25 billion package was part of a deal between President Donald Trump and Democrats that included raising the nation’s debt ceiling and a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said Tuesday that Irma and Maria will require “much more” than $15 billion in federal relief.
“We’re going to have to put the full resources of the federal government in there because this is a Cat 5 and they lost power on the last hurricane that brushed them,” Nelson said. “This is going full bore right into the island.”
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