Puerto Rico and blackouts appear to have become inseparable. Hurricane Maria struck the island last September and forced the people into the dark ages. The situation has not yet returned to normal but, suddenly, it has faced another bout of darkness. The last time it was because of the weather, this time it is attributed to humans.

ABC News reports that the root cause of the trouble was the removal of a tower by an excavator. The work was being done by a contractor and the grid collapsed when the machine tried to remove a recently collapsed electrical tower.

That resulted in the blackout as explained by the authorities of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority PREPA.

Line of action

The latest blackout has affected the whole of Puerto Rico as confirmed by PREPA. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has tweeted that the situation after Hurricane Maria of 20 September has returned. According to officials, the island was gradually returning to normalcy with over 90 percent of lines restored but the sudden accident has taken a heavy toll with power availability dropping to less than five percent.

The priority right now is to restore power to emergency services like hospitals, airports, water treatment plants, banks, and business. It will take at least 24 to 36 hours for full restoration of power, and the contractor has assured that its staff will work 24/7 to bring the situation back to normal.

The future scenario

The electric grid in the island is outdated and Hurricane Maria has brought out the condition of the equipment. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello wants PREPA to change the contractor that is responsible for the latest blackout. He wants more efficient setups to ensure that there is no disruption in the supply of electricity to the consumers.

Six months after the island was devastated by the hurricane, Gov. Rossello indicated that repairs to the existing grid have been undertaken but the final result will not be as strong as the one that was in place before the storm struck. He has also admitted that it will take at least five years to build a more robust grid.

It is high time that the administration of the island tries to identify an alternative to electricity.

Solar power is one of the solutions and some companies have already shown an interest in this area. This form of energy will do away with diesel generators that lead to global warming and can be used in all walks of life from hospitals, schools, and houses to street lighting.