(Reuters) – More than a third of all homes and businesses in Puerto Rico remained without power on Friday, the second day of a massive outage on the Caribbean island that may have been caused by a fire at a power plant.
Some 500,000 of the 1.4 million homes and businesses in the U.S. territory were without power, according to a PowerOutage.US tally.
The outage forced public schools to cancel classes for the second day and some courts to suspend work on Friday. Some 162,000 customers, out of a total of 1.3 million, were without drinking water service due to the blackout, media reported on the island.
“7 am on Friday and we are still without power in Laguna Gardens. I officially lost all my food, couldn’t work, and what little hope I had turned to courage,” said a Twitter (NYSE:) user who goes by the name of Nicole Shantei, referring to a neighborhood in San Juan.
Puerto Rico’s LUMA Energy reported late on Thursday that work to restore power for 380,000 customers was expected well into Friday, given the massive size and scope of the outage.
“We continue to work hard to restart generation units and high voltage lines,” it said.
The exact cause of the island-wide power outage was unknown, LUMA said, but a failed circuit breaker at Costa Sur power plant may be to blame.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority posted a video on Twitter of a fire at the plant in Guayanilla, a town in southwest Puerto Rico, on Wednesday night.
Hurricane Maria, which wiped out power to all of Puerto Rico in 2018, exposed the fragile state of the electrical grid on the island of 3.3 million people.