4 months after Maria, 450K residents of Puerto Rico still without power

PHOTO: In this Oct. 11, 2017 file photo, A police car patrols on a darkened street three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. PlayMario Tama/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Puerto Rico school celebrates the return of electricity

It's been more than four months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and nearly half a million customers are still without power, the Army Corps of Engineers said today.

Interested in Hurricanes?

Add Hurricanes as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricanes news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

PHOTO: Central Palo Seco power station of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is seen behind a cemetery, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 22, 2018.Alvin Baez/Reuters
Central Palo Seco power station of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is seen behind a cemetery, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 22, 2018.

Some 4,000 power restoration personnel are currently working to repair the electricity to more than 450,000 customers. An additional 1,000 workers -- along with hundreds of bucket trucks and transformers -- are expected to arrive on the island to "accelerate progress" in the next few week, according to the Corps.

"We will continue to press forward until the mission is complete," Task Force Power restoration commander Col. John Lloyd said in a statement.

PHOTO: Central Palo Seco power station of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is seen in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 22, 2018.Alvin Baez/Reuters
Central Palo Seco power station of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is seen in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 22, 2018.

In concert with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and industry workers from the mainland, the Corps has already restored power for 1 million customers.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello recently announced plans to privatize the power authority, which was struggling even before Maria knocked out the island's entire power grid.

PHOTO: Houses are seen in the dark in a neighbourhood without electricity after the electrical grid was damaged by Hurricane Maria in September, in Dorado, Puerto Rico, Jan. 22, 2018.Alvin Baez/Reuters
Houses are seen in the dark in a neighbourhood without electricity after the electrical grid was damaged by Hurricane Maria in September, in Dorado, Puerto Rico, Jan. 22, 2018.

The post-hurricane power restoration effort hit a snag shortly after PREPA awarded a $300 million restoration contract to Whitefish, a Montana-based company with just two full-time employees, rather than the mutual-aid network of public utilities usually called upon to coordinate power restoration after disasters.

After FEMA expressed "significant concerns" over the procurement process and questioned the hourly rates outlined in the contract, PREPA canceled the contract. Whitefish halted work shortly thereafter.

PHOTO: In this Oct. 11, 2017 file photo, A police car patrols on a darkened street three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. Mario Tama/Getty Images, FILE
In this Oct. 11, 2017 file photo, A police car patrols on a darkened street three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, in Aibonito, Puerto Rico.

ABC News' Josh Hoyos contributed to this report.

Comments