Puerto Rico grid ‘teetering’ despite $3.8 billion repair job

  • Old electricity posts continue broken months after Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Monday, May 28, 2018. In many places across Puerto Rico crews without adequate supplies patched together damaged poles and power lines in a desperate push to restore power. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

  • An airplane flies over repaired electrical lines in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Despite the billions plowed into the grid since Hurricane Maria hit on Sept. 20, 2017, Puerto Rican officials warn that it could take far less than a Category 4 storm like Maria to cause a blackout like the one that persists today, with some 11,820 homes and businesses still without power. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

  • Workers of the electric repair brigade remove old cables from a post in San German, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. After an eight-month, $3.8 billion federal effort to try to end the longest blackout in United States history, officials say Puerto Rico’s public electrical authority, the nation’s largest, is almost certain to collapse again when the next hurricane hits this island of 3.3 million people.(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

  • Old power cables spliced together and woven haphazardly through trees are used to power electricity to some houses in the mountain In Cain Alto, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Such jury rigged arrangement is a safety code violation virtually guaranteed to leave the neighborhood blacked out in a future hurricane. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

CAIN ALTO, Puerto Rico — After months of darkness and stifling heat, Noe Pagan was overjoyed when power-line workers arrived to restore electricity to his home deep in the lush green mountains of western Puerto Rico. But to his dismay, instead of raising a power pole toppled by Hurricane Maria, the federal contractors bolted the new 220-volt line to the narrow trunk of a breadfruit tree — a safety code violation virtually guaranteed to leave Pagan and his neighbors blacked out in a future hurricane.