Only 25 customers still without power in Puerto Rico, nearly 11 months after Maria

In this Sept. 20, 2017 file photo, electricity poles and lines lie toppled on the road after Hurricane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico.PlayAP
WATCH Puerto Rico residents recovering from Maria brace for hurricane season

Twenty-five customers are still without power in Puerto Rico, nearly 11 months after Hurricane Maria hit the island, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) announced Monday night.

Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 20, 2017, plunging the island into total darkness, causing $100 billion in damage and claiming countless lives.

Despite the good news Monday, rolling blackouts or brownouts are a daily occurrence because the grid is so weak.

In this July 24, 2018 photo, Julio Rosario installs a solar energy system at a home in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. AP
In this July 24, 2018 photo, Julio Rosario installs a solar energy system at a home in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.

The bankrupt utility has faced recent organizational turmoil with two CEOs resigning in the same number of weeks after a storm of controversy surrounding one of the CEO’s salary. In June, then-PREPA CEO Walter Higgins told The Associated Press that it would take an additional two months for the organization to restore power to 100 percent of customers. The island entered the Atlantic hurricane season with 10,200 people without power.

In February, Gov. Ricardo Rossello told ABC News that he felt a lack of urgency from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in helping to restore power.

"Two-thirds of the island’s recovery on that front is in the Corps of Engineers’ hands," Rossello said. "I have seen a lack of urgency on that, whether it is on the contracting side or the bringing materials side which is a current problem."

In this Sept. 20, 2017 file photo, electricity poles and lines lie toppled on the road after Hurricane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico.AP
In this Sept. 20, 2017 file photo, electricity poles and lines lie toppled on the road after Hurricane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Army's top engineer said in February that their role was never to completely rebuild the power system.

“We respond to get things back up to normal," Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said. "Rebuilding the generating capability of Puerto Rico was not the Corps of Engineers' task."

PHOTO:
SLIDESHOW: Photos: Hurricane Maria pummels Puerto Rico, Caribbean

In mid-October, Rossello announced a benchmark of Dec. 15 to reach 95 percent of electricity distribution on the island.

That benchmark was not reached.

"What we don’t want to do is give false promises out," Semonite said. "There is no way when I saw this devastation in October that I thought that it was even close to get to 95 percent by December."

For those 25 customers, the longest blackout in American history continues.

Comments