The power situation in Puerto Rico is worse than reports suggest

For some time now, I have been reading reports that after hurricane Irma devastated that island nearly two months ago, only 30% of the island’s population have had power restored to them. That itself was scandalous and one can imagine the outrage if we were talking about (say) Florida or New Jersey or any other place where ‘real Merkins’ (i.e., white Christians) were the affected population, not Hispanic people.

But it turns out that the 30% figure does not refer to the percentage of the population who are now getting power. Instead what it means is that the power grid has been able to restore only 30% of the power it needs to produce. This power is unequally distributed. It is being sent only to institutions that truly need it (such as hospitals and other emergency services) and to those that do not really need it but are powerful (like the governor’s mansion) but that the wording of power restoration was quietly changed to hide this fact.

All of that power is being reserved for hospitals, first responders and the water pumps to try and drain the floodwaters from the island.

“So if you ask around in Puerto Rico, hardly ANYBODY at all has power, unless you live next door to a hospital or the governor’s mansion,” [reporter Frances] Robles explained. “One of my cousins has power – but not enough for AC – because she’s right next to the airport, but the huge hotel across the street doesn’t.”

She referred to a LatinoUSA NPR report that may be the only one to have captured the fact that the government “quietly changed its status” on Oct. 26, so that it would say “generation.”

So pretty much nearly all of the population is still without power, nearly two months after the hurricane hit. It is a disgrace.


  1. John Morales says

    TGAP Dad, in my experience most people who employ that epithet are fully aware of what they are saying. It’s an oldie but a goodie, and semi-affectionate.

    (In Oz the traditional term is seppo)

  2. jrkrideau says

    I was listening to a CBC program this morning. There was an interview with someone from the US branch of Qxfam discussing their work in Puerto Rico.

    She was saying that it was quite unusual but not completely unknown for them to be providing aid in the USA.

    At least one hospital, the Puerto Rico children’s hospital has power courtesy of Tesla.

  3. mynax says

    Hence the character of US President Merkin Muffley in the movie “Dr. Strangelove”, with “muff” being another word for pubic hair. Other fun character names include General Turgidson, and Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper.

  4. lanir says

    I wasn’t aware they were changing their terminology that way. I recall hearing on the Maddow show that at one point the percentage reported on the power numerically went down (ie, got worse). I guess one can hope it was due to this quiet word shuffle and not backsliding in the already horrific disaster response.

  5. TGAP Dad says

    Dr. Singham:
    I suspected as much. I usually go with either “‘Murrican,” or “RealAmericans™“ when making such a point.
    That said, if I ever find a situation where the double entendre merkin fits, I’ll make it a point to employ it.

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