Puerto Rico’s governor called for a Montana-based power company’s $300 million contract to rebuild a significant part of the island’s power grid to be canceled Sunday morning.
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said questions surrounding Whitefish Energy’s experience and contract are a distraction from the real problem: how to restore electricity to the roughly 80 percent of Puerto Ricans still without power, The Washington Post reports.
“As a result of the information that has been revealed and the need to protect the public interest, as governor I am asking the power authority to cancel the Whitefish contract immediately,” Rosselló said according to WaPo.
Rosselló also called for more oversight into the contracting process of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) in tweets Sunday morning.
PREPA may terminate its contract with Whitefish at any time “for any or no reason, when in PREPA’s judgment such action responds to its best interest.” Puerto Rico’s utility will be charged “actual, reasonable, and necessary expenses” and “demobilization costs” for ending the contract, the PREPA/Whitefish contract says, according to NPR.
Whitefish is a two-year-old firm based in the hometown of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Both Whitefish and Zinke have denied allegations that the secretary had any involvement in awarding the contract. Rosselló has ordered an audit of the PREPA contract with Whitefish, and U.S. lawmakers have asked PREPA CEO Ricardo Ramos to provide all records of the deal to Congress, NPR reports.
Whitefish Energy currently employs about 325 people in Puerto Rico who are working to restore the island’s severely damaged power grid, according to WaPo.
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