Puerto Rico Rises: Power outages

Puerto Rico Rises: Part 2, Power outages (December 21, 2017)

"I actually spent the hurricane with my wife in another apartment complex. It's because I live on the 15th floor and it's just too high." said Jorge Bracero. "I was actually afraid for [my wife] because she's pregnant."

Bracero works for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. He was one of the first people on the ground in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

Bracero knew that the road to recovery after the hurricane would be a tough one, but he underestimated just how bad the aftermath of the storm was. 

"It was worse than I imagined," he said. "It was worse than I could ever conceive. As soon as I saw the first light posts that were made from concrete, you know, that's supposed to withstand so much power, and they exploded. They were just blown up from the middle."

The sights were powerful.

"As soon as I saw it, I was like, "This is not normal. What happened?" And I just kept driving, and everywhere I went was the same story."

Not only was Bracero one of the first people to realize Maria's devastating effects on the island's power grid, he also had a firm understanding on what it would mean for Puerto Rico in the long term. 

"We have approximately 800 transmission towers," explained Bracero. "We lost around 680." 

That is more than two-thirds of the towers that were destroyed. 

Bracero says It has been brutal work, trying to get power back online for the island. 

"Most people don't understand the magnitude of what happened." 

To combat the misinformation, Bracero started a Facebook page publishing inside information from the power company about the reality of the situation. The power was coming back, slowly but surely. 

"I have to keep doing this because there's interest and people need to know. So, until then, until it just collapses on its own or the emergency has passed, I'll just keep doing it." 

© 2018 KXTV-TV


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