Puerto Rico’s Power Woes Are Decades in the Making

Source: Wall Street Journal by Arian Campo-Flores and Jose de Cordoba

TOA BAJA, Puerto Rico—As residents grapple with power outages across the entire island, the task of turning the lights back on falls to an electrical utility saddled with rickety infrastructure, workforce reductions and financial troubles so deep it declared a form of bankruptcy in July.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Irma sideswiped the island, knocking out power to about 70% of the customers of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa. The utility had made significant strides in restoring electricity when Hurricane Maria struck Wednesday, wiping out power to 100% of its customers.

Ricardo Ramos, chief executive of Prepa, said that it could take months for power to be restored across the island.

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