Why It’s So Hard To Get The Power Back On In Puerto Rico (HBO)

On the three month anniversary of Hurricane María, Puerto Rico is still struggling to turn the lights on—at least a third of the island is still living in the dark. Initially, the hope was to restore power to 95% of the population by mid-December. Now, Army Corps say power won’t be back until May.

Hurricane María destroyed 80% of the island’s electric grid. But the unprecedented blackout isn’t just due to the storm—human beings played a role here too.

VICE News traveled to Puerto Rico to figure out why it’s taking so much longer than expected. We spoke to the new head of PREPA, the island’s public utility company, embedded with the Army Corps of Engineers, and spent time with Puerto Ricans, who are starting to lose faith in the recovery.

Subscribe to VICE News here:

Check out VICE News for more:

Follow VICE News here:
More videos from the VICE network:

29 thoughts on “Why It’s So Hard To Get The Power Back On In Puerto Rico (HBO)

  1. I met a couple linemen who work on this type of infrastructure. Apparently they pay over 200k a year down there. But it's so hard to find willing men. Even though they will fly you in. 1 of these guys I met made 230k one year and spent 2 months down there. Maybe he is lying. But that's what I heard. And that repairs of this level take so much time.

  2. The Biggest Mistake they are doing is, Putting those Lines Back Up, when they know full well that the island WILL be hit by Multiple Hurricanes over the coming seasons…All the Lines should have been Buried like Modern Cities Do.. Wind would have NO Effect on the Power Grid..

  3. As a pereon who works in service repair I have a great deal of respect for the people doing the repairs, if you have never worked 16 hour plus shift for weeks and months at a time it can really effect not only you but your family. The older gentleman is a survivor and has a great attitude, its that attitude that helps you in life make it through hard times. I wish you all the best.

  4. The destruction of the power grid here on Puerto Rico was completely avoidable, corruption is the main cause of why the fucking piece of shit power grid went under in the first place. 10 MONTHS later and still people on the island are without power. Poor maintanance, complete corruption and a government that has been putting money in their own pockets since the 80's is to blame here. NOT the hurricane. Take it from me, a citizen in Puerto Rico since birth…

  5. We have Puerto Rican politicians stealing money and we have the US government bloodsucking our economy. A lot of money coming out of the island to the US and almost no money coming in from the US.

  6. For the love of God send in Quebec Hydro. If they can get power up in the mountains in two meters of snow, six feet in the US, they can do it anywhere.
    Ask New York after hurricane Sandy.

  7. Now the Mayor of San Juan who was such a hero bashing Trump is under FBI investigation along with most of her family, friends, and administration for corruption and stealing aid supplies and money. Pretty sure someone told you so long ago. Same FBI that hates Trump, thought I would save you liberal fucktards the trouble of whining that false bullshit. :-/

  8. With the iron glut the world is experiencing, the grid could have been completed via hand painted iron frames, instead of using fancy wooden poles. This would be a recyclable stop gap until the wooden poles could be acquired or an alternative produced. Once no longer needed use the frames to build barns etc. Put old people to work, give them a paycheck. You know; act like you're rich; and have a real heart.

  9. Worked to startup a pharma plant there in 1998 . We could not complete validation in time because of almost daily brownouts.
    The People were great but the infrastructure was crap.

  10. because all the people ran away instead of staying to rebuild the island they seem so proud of as they drive around America…, they are like illegals. left their shithole, yet come here and talk about how great their shithole is ..LOL

  11. I don't get Puerto Rico. I had always assumed PR was a very small island but I recently found out it is roughly the size of Jamaica with a similar size population, but livs in this limbo state between an independent Country and an American State, it has achieved nothing, there are no famous Puerto Ricans I can think of, and no thriving tourist industry?

  12. why didn't Trump maintain and update Puerto Rico electrical grid. Trump put these politicians in office and completely mismanaged Puerto Rico for the past 50 years. Trump is the cause of the common cold. Trump caused global warming. Trump colluded with aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy. Trump nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  13. Highlighted comment
    1 day ago
    Perez, I agree, but you do not understand. What you do not understand is the racist attitude of Roseanne Bar is the same reason that Puerto Rico is being ignored. The United States would care about Puerto Rico if rich european americans lived there. It is part racism, because Puerto Ricas are not Irish or German or Scottish. They are a mixture of Spanish, Indian and African. The other part is that they are poor. The poverty of the majority of puerto ricans is due to their wanting to maintain their sovereignty. So, what does America have against Puerto rican amerians is that 1) Puerto rican americans don't want to be the indentured servants of Rich European Americans, where their country is taken over by rich tourists or rich german/scottish/irish people or jewish people. The same problem exists in Hawaii, where the Hawaiians feel as if they are second class citizens in their own country. And treated as such. 2) Puerto rican americans have vacillated with wanting independence and crying out against the military bases and soldiers who mistreat their daughters and the land. 3) Puerto Ricans speak Spanish, 4) Puerto Ricans have mixed races, as I mentioned are Spanish, Indian and African. So, if you take an example of the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York City and wonder how many people around the world and countries around the world, sent money to the survivors of the bombing, it was hundreds of thousands of people. But United States prefers to blame the corruption in the private and public corruption, instead of helping people to survive two deadly hurricanes. The newly appointed head of fema uses puerto rico as an example of people who do not help themselves. Who expect fema to do everything. Instead of saying the buck stops here and we will hire HONEST puerto ricans to rebuild the infrastructure of Puerto Rico!! We will remove any barriers to their success, including trade barriers. So, in the end, Ms Perez, America looks at puerto rico as a bail out, rather than looking at it as a jewel of america to be treasured and rescued in a time of great need and sorrow, as hurricane starts again. So, puerto rico must deal with both racisim and classism. My suggestion is to reach out to Oprah Winfrey to start a donation campaign to help puerto rican people living in the mountains become self-dependent. Build mini nursing stations to help the sick people living in mountainous regions. Don't build highways, instead build mountainous nursing stations where sick people can go for help. Our medical ship docked there is a good idea, but it is better to take nurses to the people, instead of forcing people to go to a ship docked far away from their homes. Ask Winfrey to reach out to HONEST Puerto Ricans who are rich to invest in Puerto Rico like Jewish people did in Israel. But not to kick the poor people out from the cities, like the Chinese president and Malyasian president is doing to their people. We need people we trust like Oprah to lend a hand, and start the ball rolling. But people need to unite and not fight each other. Like the new Fema Director said, we need private and public to work together, because despite the billions of dollars that Trump is stealing by selling america to the highest biidder, and the millions we are giving to Israel, we don't have enough money to build a sturdy electrical grid in Puerto Rico. Nor are we allowing people to use solar energy, but instead are making it difficult for them to use solar energy. We must unite to help people who are in need, as well as help ourselves.

  14. What a filthy filthy mess. Why not build a new power plant closer to the metropolitan areas. This is a total waste of trees. WTF is wrong with these people?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.