In a statement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency called it an “important milestone,” adding that there’s still a great deal of work left to be done. “The first thing I will do is give thanks to God,” one customer told The New York Times after she suffered months without light, refrigeration, or television.
The island’s government spent $3.2 billion to put up 52,000 new electrical poles and 6,000 miles of wire. It still has billions more to spend on strengthening the poorly maintained system. Currently, one blunder could send the island into darkness.
José Ortiz, PREPA’s new chief executive estimates that up to a quarter of the hastily completed work will have to be redone. He said the island is focused on pivoting to solar energy, a cheaper alternative to oil, and making its transmission lines more reliable. “This looks like a mess, really, from the outside,” he said. “Once you are inside, you see it is even worse.” Michael Byrne, the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico, said the island’s power grid is “stable, but fragile.”
The Daily Beast