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Hurricane Maria's blackout was second-largest in history

Alana Rivera, 10, does homework by cell phone light on her balcony in San Juan. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

The Rhodium Group published a new analysis that concludes the power loss in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from Hurricane Maria is the second-largest blackout in world history. They analyzed customer-hours of power loss to conclude that it's behind only Typhoon Haiyan that devastated the Philippines in 2013 — albeit a distant second.

Why it matters: Their tally underscores the magnitude of suffering faced by U.S. citizens from the storm that hit last September. By early this week, it had had caused the loss of 3.4 billion customer hours of service in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The bottom line: The report takes stock of power loss from disasters and other disruptions, while also noting the need for electrification for the over 1 billion people globally who have never had power.

  • "[M]aking existing electricity supply more resilient to storm-related disruptions in both developed and developing countries is ... important, particularly given recent and projected changes in the global climate," it concludes.