Puerto Rico has experienced a major loss of Internet services after a fire near the Costa Sur power plant rendered most of the island powerless.
Around 350,000 energy customers remain without power as of Thursday, but services have resumed for about 80,000 customers on the US territory. Public schools and non-essential government jobs have been suspended.
Avería en breaker de salida de Unidad #5 de Costa Sur al 230kv ocasionó la salida de las unidades 5 y 6 de la Central. El sistema de protección del sistema eléctrico sacó de servicio el resto de las unidades que estaban generando. pic.twitter.com/ZFAR6GocY2— Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (@AEEONLINE) April 7, 2022
A fire at a circuit breaker next to the oil power plant is believed to be at fault. One of Puerto Rico’s biggest power plants, Costa Sur previously went offline due to a 2020 earthquake, but came back online just in time for Tropical Storm Isaias.
This most recent outage disrupted Internet connectivity across the island, with Cloudflare's outage tracker, CloudflareRadar, seeing "a significant drop in traffic around 0030 UTC (8:30pm local time), falling further through the morning."
Restoration efforts could extend into Friday, operator Luma Energy warned.
Puerto Rico has some of the most expensive electricity in any US jurisdiction, but it is also one of the least reliable. Its public utility and main power generator, Prepa, is currently in bankruptcy.