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After taking a beating from the hurricanes that pummeled Puerto Rico in September, Dish Network said Thursday it paused service for 145,000 customers who lost service on the island so they wouldn’t be stuck with a bill. But that led to a six-figure quarterly subscriber loss for the Douglas County satellite TV service.

Dish, already bruised from the loss of customers nationwide in recent years, reported a loss of 129,000 subscribers in its third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Excluding the one-time, temporary loss of all of its 145,000 Puerto Rican customers, Dish gained 16,000 net new TV subscribers. Last year, Dish lost 116,000 customers.

“In an effort to ensure customers would not be charged for services they were unable to receive, DISH proactively paused service for those customers,” the company said.

Dish also said net income dropped 6.7 percent to $297 million in the third quarter compared to a year earlier. Revenues also declined 5 percent from last year, to end the quarter at $3.48 billion.

As a result of Hurricane Maria ,”substantially all customers in those areas were unable to receive DISH service,” the company said in its earnings report. At the same time, Dish was battling over fees with Lilly Broadcasting, which broadcasts CBS and One Caribbean Television in Puerto Rico. Lily blacked out the channels for subscribers on the island on Sept. 30 but resumed the broadcasts the next day “to help those that can still see the networks (and) keep informed as to what is happening in their region,” Lilly’s Chief Operating Officer John Christianson told Satellite Business News.

Dish’s customer count includes subscribers to its internet-only Sling TV service, which analysts believe is growing.

According to market research firm Parks Associates, Sling ranked as the tenth most popular online-TV services, based on subscribers. Last year, Sling ranked sixth. But the drop isn’t because Sling is shrinking, said Brett Sappington, senior director of research, Parks Associates.

“Sling has continued to add subscribers at a rapid pace, but other services have grown more quickly,” he said. “Sling TV was originally designed to capture cord-cutters who wanted a pay-TV-like service, but at a lower price point. In that sense, it is an alternative to pay-TV. While pursuing original or exclusive content could help Sling in acquiring subscribers, it is an expensive and risky approach.”

Competitors HBO Now, Starz and CBS All Access ranked higher because of original content and exclusive access to other TV shows or movies.

Hulu and Sling were the only services in Parks’ Top 10 list that offered a mix of live TV network and typical cable channels. The newer online TV services like AT&T’s DirecTV Now, YouTube Live and PS Vue are noticeably absent.  Hulu, however, only launched its live TV service last Spring and previously existed for years primarily as an on-demand video

“DirecTV Now is not on the list primarily because it is a relatively new service,” he added. “If its rate of growth continues, DirecTV Now could very well find itself in the thick of the top 10 next year.”

Dish’s shares, trading as DISH on the Nasdaq exchange, were up 4 percent Thursday.

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