Puerto Rico’s power grid underwent $3.8 billion in repairs between 2017 and 2018. However, the island’s grid remains ‘highly fragile’ and susceptible to damage should another storm occur.
The damage left by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico created the longest blackout in United States history. Puerto Ricans have observed repairs to the grid that are safety code violations. Pagan, a 23-year-old garage worker, told Time Magazine that instead of raising a power pole that was toppled by Hurricane Maria, the workers bolted a 220-volt line to a narrow trunk of a breadfruit tree.
“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,” Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello said.
It is inevitable that another hurricane will hit Puerto Rico. Unsecured repairs could leave the island with more significant damage than was seen in 2017.
Hector Pesquera, Puerto Rico’s commissioner of public safety, told Time Magazine, “The grid is there, but the grid isn’t there. It’s teetering. 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…”
Federal officials blame the situation on years of mismanagement that left the island in massive debt. When Maria hit last year, wooden power poles were rotted, transmission towers were rusted, and overgrown trees surrounded thousands of miles of power lines. One power authority worker told Time Magazine that much of the work was against basic safety codes, “We worked with the little material that was available, and we recycled material… A lot of the work is defective.”
A study by the New England Journal of Medicine reported that a lack of power and resources caused up to 4,645 more deaths than usual in the three months after Maria. Right now, the island is not prepared for another hurricane. Consider, there are still tens of thousands of homes without roofs, and only 21,000 received federal aid for repairs. FEMA is encouraging Puerto Ricans to stockpile enough emergency supplies to survive up to 20 days without help.
Aldelano Solar Cold Solutions can provide Puerto Ricans with life-saving resources after a storm. Our products offer:
Off-grid, cold-storage for food or medicine that does not rely on the grid.
Robust solar power for a home or entire village.
Clean-fresh water generated from moisture in the air.
Humanitarian or government organizations that equip with Aldelano Solar Cold Solutions products in advance can provide immediate aid during critical times after a hurricane.