>> It's been two weeks since Hurricane Maria dealt a massive blow to Puerto Rico's electrical grid, and most of the island is still in the dark. The storm was devastating, but Puerto Rico's Electrical Power Authority, or PREPA, was already limping along before Maria. A fact the island's Governor, Ricardo Rossello, admitted when he spoke with Reuters correspondent, Nick Brown.
>> What made Maria's impact in Puerto Rico so severe was years of lack of maintenance to a grid that the governor told us was hopelessly outdated. While PREPA did have a plan to mitigate damage at the grid's weakest areas, the Governor admitted to us, when we spoke to him, that there was nothing that was going to stop a storm like Maria from decimating that grid.
>> When the storm hit, PREPA was trying to simultaneously finance an operational overhaul and dig it's self out from $8 billion in debt. It declared bankruptcy in July. Puerto Ricans already endured frequent power outages before the storm. A transformer fire in 2016 knocked out about half the islands power, which wasn't fully restored for nearly a week.
PREPA's CEO told Reuters, Hurricane Maria's 155 miles per hour winds knocked out about 80% of the utilities distribution network. The island, turning to help from FEMA and US Army Corps of Engineers for help restoring electricity.>> Another major problem for PREPA? They've lost a ton of workers in the last five years.
As many as 4,000 according to PREPA's CEO. The vast majority of those are operations workers who have the very skills needed to rebuild PREPA's grid.>> Cost for modernizing PREPA as estimated at $4 billion, before factoring damage from Maria.