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Officials warn Puerto Rico electric grid is likely to collapse in next hurricane

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Officials are warning that Puerto Rico’s electric grid is likely to collapse when the next hurricane hits the island, despite an effort by the federal government to repair it in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017. 

“The grid is there, but the grid isn’t there. It’s teetering,” Puerto Rico Commissioner of Public Safety Hector Pesquera told The Associated Press. “Even if it’s a (Category) 1, it is in such a state that I think we’re going to lose power. I don’t know for how long.”

{mosads}The federal government has invested $3.8 billion into ending the island’s blackout, according to the AP, which began in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

Puerto Rico’s power authority is also more than $9 million in debt after declaring bankruptcy in the wake of the storm, the news service added. 

“It’s a highly fragile and vulnerable system that really could suffer worse damage than it suffered with Maria in the face of another natural catastrophe,” the island’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, said. 

The report comes just ahead the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which is slated to begin on Friday. 

“It’s inevitable that Puerto Rico will get hit again,” the head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, Bruce Walker, told the AP. 

Hurricane Maria and its aftermath caused widespread destruction across the island. 

A new report from the New England Journal of Medicine said nearly 5,000 people died on the island as a result of the storm. 

The death toll according to Puerto Rico’s government is 64.

 

 

 

 

 

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