Thousands of Puerto Ricans protest against persistent power outages
Thousands of Puerto Ricans on Friday marched to protest against ongoing power outages across the island, AP reports.
Driving the news: Many of the approximately 4,000 protesters called for the ouster of Luma, a private company that took over the island’s transmission and distribution of power on June 1, per AP.
- Protesters, who blocked traffic in the capital of San Juan, are also frustrated with Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, which operates generation units that have been failing recently due to a lack of upkeep.
- "We’re tired of coming home and discovering that we have no lights," one protester, Mayra Rivera, 55, said, per AP.
The big picture: Power outages are increasingly common on the island and are lasting longer.
- Some residents say that the outages make it difficult to administer crucial health needs, such as respiratory therapies, and others complain that they can't work due to unstable internet connections.
- Puerto Rico's power grid has been increasingly precarious ever since Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017 as a Category 4 storm.
- The government announced on Thursday the first plan to direct federal funds to the Electric Power Authority in an effort to strengthen the grid, with $7.1 million set to be used for reconstruction work, per AP.