Puerto Rico Blackout Results From Excavator Incident

On April 18, Puerto Rico residents experienced an island-wide blackout. According to local officials, the Puerto Rico blackout occurred after a contractor operating an excavator hit a transmission line near the island’s south coast. According to Justo Gonzalez, the power company’s executive sub-director, the contractor’s excavator got too close to a high-voltage line, resulting in an energy discharge. After the line went down as part of a protection measure, the other southern power plants went down as well.Puerto Rico Blackout Results From Excavator Incident

Puerto Rico Blackout

“It took out all the units in the south,” said González. According to authorities, the same contractor was involved in two more recent power failures incidents and has since been fired. During the previous outage, a tree limb dropped on a power line while the contractor, in question, was clearing land.

The Puerto Rico blackout occurred after months of unstable power in the wake of Hurricane Maria. However, the most recent power outage was the first full-island blackout to occur since September’s Category 4 storm. Not only did the event result in traffic jams, but it also affected schools, businesses, and other workplaces around the island.

video from Washington Post

Limited Backup Power During Blackout

In the hours after the incident, officials struggled to restore power to the airport and major hospitals. By Thursday morning, the utility company had returned power to more than 1.4 million customers throughout Puerto Rico. According to officials quoted in TIME, it took 24 to 36 hours to restore power island-wide. Currently, Puerto Rico legislators are considering a bill to privatize the territory’s power company, which is suffering from old infrastructure and serious debt.

While many of San Juan’s biggest hotels suffered only temporary losses of power, traffic was affected throughout the island, and many businesses had to close down. Additionally, the fire department reported that a Chili’s restaurant caught on fire. “Welcome to Puerto Rico, this is what we know as ‘life,’” said Eduardo Perez, a former Major League baseball player and ESPN commentator in a news conference.

Preventing Outages and Accidents

The Puerto Rico blackout served as a valuable reminder of the importance of power line warning systems. Not only do proximity detection alarms warn workers if they’re operating close to power lines, but they also offer notice if equipment enters a preset area. Preventing power line contacts saves lives. Sigalarms protect valuable equipment and utilities infrastructure from further damage.  As the world leader in power line warning systems, we’re passionate about reducing dangerous and unnecessary power line contact. Even in tricky situations such as the Puerto Rico incident, power line contacts are completely preventable, with the use of Sigalarm products.

Trust Sigalarm With Your Employees’ Wellbeing

Looking to protect your employees from harm and ensure public safety? Contact us today for more information about our proximity alarms, our services, and our mission to prevent on-the-job accidents. Also, make sure to stop by our shop for the latest sales and offerings for your equipment. We look forward to being your partner in safety.