Island-wide blackout hits Puerto Rico; officials probe cause

A broken utility pole hangs in front of a structure in Cayey, Puerto Rico, on March 1.
(Erika P. Rodriguez / For the Washington Post)

An island-wide blackout has hit Puerto Rico, which is struggling with a persistently unstable power grid nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria battered the U.S. territory.

Electric Power Authority spokeswoman Yohari Molina told the Associated Press that crews were investigating the cause. Officials said Wednesday it could take 24 to 36 hours to fully restore power.

It’s the first time since the Category 4 Maria hit on Sept. 20 that Puerto Rico has experienced a full island-wide blackout.

Before the latest blackout, some 40,000 power customers were still without normal electricity service as a result of the hurricane.