February 22, 2018

Rick Scott is Puerto Rico-bound Friday, will advise on power restoration

31 October 2017, 12:22 | Rufus Hill

Millions of Puerto Ricans Without Food Water Fuel

Crisis in the Caribbean Millions of Puerto Ricans Without Food Water Fuel

"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 The Washington Post. He defended his agency and the deal, citing Puerto Rico's emergency needs.

Gov. Rosselló made the announcement almost a week after questions were raised about how a small energy company in Montana got a $300 million "no bid" contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico's electrical grid. A spokesperson for Gov. Ricardo Rossello said he "welcomes any investigation by the federal authorities and he has been clear: there should be an investigation on this matter, and if there is any wrongdoing, the persons responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law".

Audits of the Whitefish contract at a local and federal level are ongoing, and the governor also announced the appointment of an outside coordinator to oversee the power company's purchase and contracting division.

Whitefish Energy Holdings happens to be a company from the very same hometown Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's, which has heightened suspicion about the decision to award the contract to a company that appears to be incapable of handling the project in Puerto Rico.

"We call on the United States and Puerto Rican authorities to remove regulatory and financial barriers to reconstruction and recovery", the envoys said.

As of October 27, roughly 72 percent of energy consumers in Puerto Rico were without power.

Most of Puerto Rico's power grid has remained offline since Hurricane Maria struck, and controversy has resulted from the delay in fix.

FEMA said it has not approved any reimbursement requests from the power company for money to cover repairs to the island's electrical system. "And stand by our commitments knowing that we made an important contribution to the restoration of the power grid since our arrival on the island on October 2".

"We are very disappointed in the decision by Governor Rosselló to ask PREPA to cancel the contract which led to PREPA's announcement this afternoon".

If Gov. Rosselló gets his way and the contract is canceled, the governor wants to bring in more power crews from NY and Florida.

Last week, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz questioned how the two-year-old company secured such a large contract.

The company, based in a two bedroom house in northwestern Montana, got the $300 million "no bid" contract to help rebuild the island's electrical grid.

The agency on Friday said it also had "significant concerns" with the deal-which FEMA has to pay for even though PREPA signed the contract. "Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless".

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