Puerto Rico Power Customers Get Billed Despite Massive Blackout

Vehicles travel along a dark street in an area without electricity after Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 27, 2017.

Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg

It may be dark in Puerto Rico, but electric customers are still being asked to pay up.

Governor Ricardo Rossello said some bills had been sent out erroneously for September even though parts of the island have been without electricity since Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Maria, which followed Irma late last month, knocked out power to the entire island, and electricity has only been restored to 11 percent of the commonwealth’s customers. Rossello told reporters Friday that a system error had led to bills being issued.

"As they were being restored, many of them activated automatically," he said. "We’re telling people not to pay." Customers who pay automatically through direct debit will receive a credit, the governor said.

Puerto Rico is dealing with the arduous task of restoring power to an island where 80 percent of transmission lines were knocked out, a devastating blow to a grid already weakened from years of neglect.

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