US

Puerto Rico’s leaders don’t know who has power

We tried to find out

Towns and communities across Puerto Rico are entirely without power more than six weeks after Hurricane Maria.

The island’s leadership is touting restoration figures that show nearly 40% of electricity generation has resumed.

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But it doesn’t say how much of that power is actually reaching homes, schools and hospitals.

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So, while some power plants can generate power, the ability to transmit it to homes may not be possible in some areas.

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With no reliable government information, CNN tried to contact each of the 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico, which are coordinating their own recoveries.

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42 municipalities couldn’t be reached. Of the 36 towns CNN reached, just four regions reported that they were more than 50% back on line.

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Still, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) insists they’re on target with work, having exceeded the goal of 33% power generation by the end of October.

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For ordinary people, the lack of power — especially for those without a generator or the ability to run one — is one long, relentless grind.

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Puerto Rico’s power grid was in desperate need of repair before Hurricane Maria shut it down completely.

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And help took time to arrive.

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Then some of the first repair crews were linked to multimillion-dollar contracts that caused political and financial controversy. Puerto Rico’s governor announced that deal would be void.

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Puerto Rico is now appealing to New York and Florida to send power workers and FEMA has tasked the US Army Corps of Engineers with rebuilding the island’s infrastructure.

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