Puerto Rico says it’s scrapping $300M Whitefish contract


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The top of Puerto Rico’s energy firm stated Sunday the company will cancel its $300 million contract with Whitefish Power Holdings amid elevated scrutiny of the tiny Montana firm’s position in restoring the island’s energy system following Hurricane Maria.

The announcement by Ricardo Ramos got here hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged the corporate to scrap the deal.

Ramos stated that Whitefish will proceed with present work, however the contract would then be scrapped — resulting in delay of 10 to 12 weeks in finishing the work.

It’s an unlimited distraction,” he stated on why he canceled the contract. “This was negatively impacting the work we’re already doing.”

Federal investigators have been making an attempt to research the contract awarded to the small firm from Inside Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown and the deal, signed shortly earlier than the hurricane hit, is being audited on the native and federal degree.

Whitefish spokesman Chris Chiames advised The Related Press earlier than the Ramos announcement that the corporate would quickly situation remark.

Rossello stated earlier that almost $eight million has been paid to Whitefish to date.

Rossello stated he has requested that crews from New York and Florida come assist restore energy in Puerto Rico as he criticized the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers for not assembly its objectives. The company couldn’t be instantly reached for remark.

The governor additionally introduced the appointment of an outdoor coordinator to supervise the facility firm’s buy and contracting division.

“If one thing unlawful was carried out, as soon as once more, the officers concerned in that course of will really feel the complete weight of the regulation, and I’ll take administrative actions,” Rossello stated.

Roughly 70 % of the island stays with out energy greater than a month after Hurricane Maria struck the U.S. territory on Sept. 20 as a Class four storm with winds of as much as 154 mph (245 kph).

Ramos has stated that Puerto Rico’s Electrical Energy Authority reached a cope with Whitefish simply days earlier than the hurricane struck, saying that he spoke with no less than 5 different corporations that demanded comparable charges, along with a down cost the company didn’t have.

Ramos additionally has stated the Federal Emergency Administration Company had accredited of the deal, one thing the company has denied.

FEMA stated it has not authorised any reimbursement requests from the facility firm for cash to cowl repairs to the island’s electrical system. The contract stated the utility…



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