Get a Handle on board Assembly to austerity plans for Puerto Rico

Get a Handle on board Assembly to austerity plans for Puerto Rico

The near-total blackout occurred seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and left most of its residents without power.

Wednesday's power failure was the second major interruption of service in less than two weeks, and the island's governor said in a tweet that Puerto Rico's power authority should cancel its agreement with the subcontractor that was responsible for the latest outage.

Puerto Rico's legislators are now debating whether to privatize the island's power authority, which is $14 in debt.

"Hurricane Maria produced the largest blackout in U.S. history, according to a study released last week by Rhodium Group LLC, an economic consultancy", the Wall Street Journal reported.

Juan Castro fills a generator with gasoline to power the cabinet building workshop where he works in San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 18, 2018.

The power outage comes two days after PREPA published an online video celebrating the restoration of electric service to 97 percent of their customers. Substations were then unable to provide electricity to customers.

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Most of Puerto Rico lost power Wednesday when a fix crew for a subcontractor for the island's electric power authority knocked down a transmission line connecting two power plants.

The new blackout occurred as Puerto Rico legislators debate a bill that would privatize the island's power company, which is $14 billion in debt and relies on infrastructure almost three times older than the industry average.

The island has really been hit with a one-two punch since just last week, when a tree fell on another power line - leaving 840,000 people without power. Morales is one of thousands still waiting for water and power as the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is pushing a bill to privatize the power system.

The U.S. Army's top engineer said in February that their role was never to completely rebuild the power system. They also seek the closure of prisons, consolidation of dozens of state agencies and significant reductions in government subsidies to the island's 78 municipalities and Puerto Rico's largest public university. "It has caused 3.4 billion lost customer-hours in Puerto Rico - more than in the rest of the USA over the past five years".

The power outage has called into question a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians scheduled for Wednesday night in San Juan.

On broader economic matters, the board wants Puerto Rico's government to make a Christmas bonus voluntary for private employers and allow businesses to dismiss workers without first having to prove just cause.

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