Power deal short-circuits
– Puerto Rico’s government power company said on Sunday it will cancel a $300 million (R4.2 billion) contract with a tiny Montana company to restore power to the storm-hit US territory after an uproar over the deal.
The contract between Whitefish Energy Holdings and Puerto Rico’s bankrupt power utility came under fire after it was revealed last week that the terms were obtained without a competitive public bidding process.
Residents, local officials and US federal authorities all criticised the arrangement.
The cancellation could further complicate Puerto Rico’s most pressing challenge from the territory’s worst storm in 80 years – restoring power to its 3.4 million residents. Nearly six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, only about a quarter of homes and businesses have power and the utility has set a goal of having 95% of power back by the middle of December.
Several other utilities have been involved in recovery efforts, but Whitefish said it had more than 350 people on the island. Also on Sunday, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said: “I am asking government and energy authorities to immediately activate the clause to cancel the contract to Whitefish Energy.” –