Q&A: Quakes pose a new threat to Puerto Rico’s grid, but PREPA expects power to be restored to all customers in days

At least 45 earthquakes shook Puerto Rico over several days in early January, leaving behind collapsed buildings and a crippled electric grid. As of publication, approximately two-thirds of the island’s 3.2 million customers remain in the dark. The temblors severely damaged Guayanilla Power Plant in the southern region, which generated more than a quarter of the island’s electricity, and it may be a year before the plant is back online.

The situation is fluid and it’s unclear when power will be fully restored. Fernando Padilla, Director of the Project Management Office for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), spoke with us about the ongoing restoration effort, how the quake impacted energy infrastructure, and what this kind of event means for efforts to ensure grid resilience.

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