Puerto Rico’s power company said it had restored power to more than 1.1 million homes and businesses by Thursday morning after a transmission line failure the day before cut service to almost all of the island’s 3.4 million residents.
The Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, was working to restore power to the less than 30 percent of customers in the US territory still without power after Wednesday morning’s blackout.
However, the issue of power outages post-Hurricane Maria is not a novelty to a large portion of the island’s residents. Prior to the islandwide blackout — nearly eight months after the hurricanes — more than 44,000 customers are still without power.
“People have been waiting for power to be restored for seven months now, and it’s horrible that in many rural towns, they don’t even have an end-date to this power cut, so there’s no way people can trust what the government is saying,” says journalist Carla Minet, executive director of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico. “It seems they’ve been so aloof on the issue of the past months. People have no trust in them.”
Puerto Rico’s power grid remains destroyed. Massive generators put in place by the Army Corps of Engineers provides much of the power to those who do have it.
Photojournalist Alex Wroblewski was in Puerto Rico five months after hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the island. At the time, one-third of the country was still without electricity. He visited the forgotten pockets to see how residents grappled with life post-Maria and post-power.