Adrian Florido

For more than a week, Puerto Rico's representative in Congress has been urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend the contract under which mainland power crews have been helping repair the island's power grid.

Standing at a lectern before reporters Thursday, Carlos Acevedo, the head of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency, made an admission. Before Hurricane Maria, he said, the island's government did not take updates to its hurricane response plans seriously.

"Before Maria, updating our plans was very easy," Acevedo said. "We would take the first and last pages, remove them, replace them with new pages, sign them, and there was the new plan."

Updated 5:58 p.m. ET

The last of the federal government's power restoration crews are scheduled to leave Puerto Rico when their contract expires next week, leaving the island's power utility with the task of energizing the last 1.5 percent of customers still waiting eight months after Hurricane Maria.

But on Wednesday, the island's representative in Congress asked the federal government not to send its crews home.

As Puerto Rico continues its recovery from Hurricane Maria, officials on the island are preparing for billions of dollars in federal reconstruction aid that will begin flowing in the coming months.

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In the mountainous regions of Puerto Rico, tens of thousands of residents are still waiting for the lights to come back on. Why is power restoration for the last 2 percent of people taking so long?

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One tree was all it took. Around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, a wayward trunk tumbled over onto a major transmission line in Puerto Rico's still-fragile electrical grid and cut power to roughly 840,000 customers, affecting more than half of the island's population.

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