(WATCH) Puerto Rico Power Grid Update

An update to our investigations into Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy, hurricane spending, and rebuilding of its electric grid at U.S. taxpayer expense.

In 2017, Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s already dysfunctional electric grid, plunging millions of people in the U.S. territory into darkness, some going without power for a year. That triggered a $17 billion-dollar rebuild for an island the size of Connecticut— at taxpayer and customer expense.

A test — and bad news — recently came with Hurricane Fiona. Officials reported the storm knocked out power on most of the island.

When we visited last year, Puerto Rico’s multibillion dollar grid rebuild was well under way, but Don Cortez from the power company Luma Energy told us not to expect too much too soon.

Sharyl: How long, according to your plans, is it going to take before you have really big, meaningful change?

Cortez: I would say it’s going to take five to 10 years to make a very, very big difference. Now, there are going to be — people will ask me, “Well, am I going to have to wait five years?” No, we’re going to make a difference. Every day that we’re here, we’re going to make a difference. But when you say a big difference, I would say, it’s going to take five to 10 years. We’re trying to prudently and reasonably spend $10 billion.

Puerto Rico’s power situation has been plagued by scandal. After Maria, the FBI charged two federal emergency management FEMA officials in a bribery scheme. They allegedly steered $1.8 billion to a company hired to repair Puerto Rico’s electric grid. Since the rebuild has begun, customers have demonstrated in the streets, protesting huge rate hikes and poor service, and members of Congress have criticized what they consider too-slow progress.

Sharyl (on-camera): Puerto Rico is technically in bankruptcy after a series of financial scandals. Its budget is under management of a financial oversight board created by Congress. That board, which has plenty of critics, privatized the publicly-owned power grid in an effort to improve it.

Watch story here.

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2 thoughts on “(WATCH) Puerto Rico Power Grid Update”

  1. Should have Buried Electric lines there on that Island routed inside of recycled plastic 6-8 inch pipes the last several Hurricanes ago since the late 80’s, instead of mis-managing contractors and others Abusing the money…Anywhere near the Ocean’s, ,the Electric grid system should have been routed under ground…Unless your a electric contractor wanting to rebuild there all the time with a toothpick on the side of your mouth and fluttering eyebrows as $ signs of doing it all again, “Monkey See Monkey Do ???

  2. I got some more info feedback for you with Hurricane flooding and some Electric car manufactures engineering un-forseen events and fires Warning Dangers coming event with there engineering and Battery under water events for any given of sumerged timing in flood zones..And electric car charging stations fires in these kinds of locations…”DANGER ???

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