April 25, 2018 / 5:59 PM / a year ago

Puerto Rico's governor says power should return within a month

A general view shows a street after Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the island's power company, said Wednesday that a major power line failure in southern Puerto Rico cut electricity to almost all customers, in San Juan, Puerto Rico April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Gabriel Lopez Albarran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello on Wednesday said he expects electricity to be restored across the U.S. territory within a month, but warned that the island’s infrastructure needed to be strengthened ahead of the upcoming hurricane season.

“The expectation is that ... within the next month we’ll be able to reach that normalcy,” he told CBS News.

“The important thing to recognize, hurricane season is coming back in a month and we need to see how we can harden” the island’s current grid, he added, speaking on “CBS This Morning.”

Puerto Rico has struggled to recover after Hurricane Maria wiped out power across the territory about seven months ago. Officials had been working since then to restore electricity, but the island was hit with another blackout last week after a transmission line failure.

About 40,000 Puerto Ricans remain without power since Maria hit the territory, home to 3.4 million U.S. citizen residents.

Hurricane season for the Atlantic starts June 1, and meteorologists have said the number of potential U.S. storms is above-average this year.

Rossello told CBS he was concerned that a possibly even bigger storm could hit in the near future and said officials were trying to prepare for the worst.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Tom Brown

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