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In Puerto Rico, Generators Divide Those With And Those Without

The roar is usually somewhere in the background. Generator noise is the new way to distinguish the open from the closed, the privileged from the poor, even the healthy from the sick.

I experienced this phenomenon myself when the power grid went down in our NE quadrant for days. Northeast blackout of 2003

I limped home from work holding my breath as my car was running on fumes because the gas stations had no power (so I couldn’t get gas), lit some candles and powered up my ‘crank’ radio that works on muscle power. For a few hours all was silent. Then my neighbors’ generators began their noisy cacophony. But at least we had our grill to try to use up the contents of our freezer. And we only had to cope for a few days!

This is the new have-have-not division in Puerto Rico. If you have a generator at your house, it probably means you’re pretty well-off

A big question is how long this generator society can keep going. It’s not exactly efficient. Arnaldo Cruz is research director at the Foundation for Puerto Rico.

ARNALDO CRUZ: A lot of these small businesses are opening with a generator, but they’re losing money. If – I talked to a few of them, and they’re like, listen, I used to pay, like, $200 for electricity. And now, I’m paying, like, $800 for diesels. They have diesel, but their operation is not profitable anymore. So what do they do?

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1 missing, after oil rig explodes on Louisiana lake

The platform, located in Jefferson Parish, is used for the transfer of oil, said Chief David Tibbets of the East Bank Consolidated Fire Department. He said the department’s current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely.

Authorities acknowledged there was a possibility that the fire meant oil could be leaking into the lake, but noted that Jefferson Parish drinking water will remain safe because it is pulled from the Mississippi River.

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