Excavator Responsible for 2nd Whole-Island Blackout in Puerto Rico

April 19, 2018
an excavator operated by D. Grimm, a civil land and energy contractor based in Conroe, Texas, took down a transmission line while working to restore power to the island on Wednesday.

USA Today reports that about 70 percent of Puerto Rico's power has been restored, but officials say it could take up to 36 hours to fully restore power after an excavator operated by D. Grimm, a civil land and energy contractor based in Conroe, Texas, took down a transmission line while working to restore power to the island on Wednesday.

More than 1.4 million Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's (PREPA) customers lost electrical power and by 8 p.m. Wednesday only 334,000 had regained power.

According to reports, D. Grimm, a subcontractor for Cobra Acquisitions, was removing a fallen tower when the excavator got too close to a major energized transmission line, causing an electrical ground fault that lead to the outage. Geraldo Quinones , a power company spokesman, said in a phone interview that crews are investigating why the breaker failed.

The outage was the second in a week related to work being done by D.Grimm. 870,000 customers lost electricity after a tree fell on a power line last week, PREPA said.  D.Grimm had been asked to change its security protocols after the first incident, and it has since been terminated, said William Rios , power generation director.

The outage did not stop the last of a two-game series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins being played on the island. Read more on this latest outage here.

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