Photographer: Alex Flynn/Bloomberg

Puerto Rico's Governor Just Hit His Target for Restoring Power

Around 30 percent of utility customers in Puerto Rico had their lights back on as of midday Monday, meeting an aggressive target set by Governor Ricardo Rossello for the end of the month.

The latest milestone comes after the governor heaped criticism on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday for the slow pace of the rebuilding effort. Just three weeks ago, less than 15 percent of the hurricane-ravaged island had been restored.

Progress had appeared to stall last week after an outage at the Palo Seco plant serving San Juan. That was followed by controversy over a $300 million contract to rebuild the grid that went to a tiny company based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Montana hometown, which Puerto Rico now plans to cancel.

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority workers repair electrical infrastructure.

Photographer: Alex Flynn/Bloomberg

Partial electricity has been restored in 39 out of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities, according to an update from the U.S. Energy Department. The installation of two generators at Palo Seco was completed on Oct. 26.

Parts of the capital have suffered periodic outages, caused by equipment tripping offline because of a mismatch between demand or supply. Shifts in frequency and voltage have been additional factors. Rossello planned to have 95 percent of the island restored by Dec. 25, according to a briefing he gave earlier this month.

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