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Puerto Rican Power Outage

By: Matthew Silverman

Photo by Matthew Silverman

There has been a lot of buzz around d.tech lately about Puerto Rico with the newly founded exchange program. This week it was reported that the Puerto Rican power outage, spanning since Hurricane Maria last August, is the largest in US history and second in world history only after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. A report from yesterday came out saying that 97% of the 3.3 million Puerto Ricans had power restored to their homes and businesses. This morning at around 10 A.M., the entire island’s power grid went down again. This is not an unusual occurrence, unfortunately, and a similar event happened several weeks ago. “The unexpected island-wide loss of power is a disaster for small business like ours,” says Bill Humphries of The Rainforest Inn, a small bed and breakfast outside of Rio Grande “Restaurants also have to struggle with the cost of generators now too. So many people wish for a renewable energy solution but no one has the capital to put one in place.”

“The power outages are something they shouldn’t be something they have to deal with anymore,” Junior Tyler McMahon, one of the 12 students who went to Puerto Rico in January, says. “It’s crazy that it’s still going on even thought the hurricane has passed over.” Regardless of the challenges residents are facing, Jose Obregon, the Executive Director of the El Pueblo Unido Foundation, was in San Juan last week and believes that the change will be good for the island and the people will come out even stronger than before. “Puerto Rico is an amazing place to create change. This is a place that is willing to change the system, but always maintaining who they are,” Obregon explains. In exchanging messages with several residents this morning, none of them seemed concerned about the outage; leading to the unfortunate realization that this has become the norm for them. At last report, it was estimated that power would be restored in 24-36 hours.

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