© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk on a street affected by the passing of Hurricane Fiona in Penuelas, Puerto Rico September 19, 2022. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo/File Photo
NEW YORK (Reuters) – An estimated 1.2 million homes and businesses remain without power in Puerto Rico Wednesday morning after Hurricane Fiona slammed into the island on Sunday, causing an island-wide power outage for its roughly 3.3 million people.
After hitting Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos, Hurricane Fiona was now heading toward Bermuda and then eastern Canada as a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kilometers per hour). The storm has killed at least five people.
Fiona hit Puerto Rico five years after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island in 2017.
Poweroutages.com, which estimates power outages based on data from utilities, said 1.168 million customers were still without service early Wednesday based on what it called the limited information available from LUMA Energy, which operates Puerto Rico’s power grid.
There were roughly 1.267 million without power early Tuesday out of a total of 1.468 million power customers in Puerto Rico, according to Poweroutages.com.
That pace of restoration is faster than after Maria when almost all 1.5 million customers on the island had no power for a week when the now bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was still operating the grid.
LUMA Energy said late Tuesday that it restored service to nearly 300,000 customers. LUMA has said “full restoration could take several days.”
LUMA is a joint venture owned by units of Canadian energy firm ATCO Ltd (50%) and U.S. energy contractor Quanta Services Inc (NYSE:) (50%).
PREPA still owns much of Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure. LUMA won a contract to operate the grid in 2020 and started managing that system in 2021.
For most of the five years since Maria, the debt-laden government and PREPA were mired in bankruptcy, with Puerto Rico’s finances managed by a federally appointed oversight board.