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Puerto Rico’s utility cancels controversial $300 million contract with Montana firm hired to repair electrical grid

Published: October 29, 2017
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Source: Washington Post

The Puerto Rico electric power company said Sunday that it is canceling a controversial $300 million contract it had signed with a small Montana-based company and tasked with a central role in repairing the territory’s hurricane-ravaged electric grid.

The move came after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said the contract was a distraction and should be canceled after critics in the electric power industry, Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency raised questions about whether the company, Whitefish Energy, was well equipped to respond to the hurricane damage.

Thirty-nine days after Hurricane Maria hit the territory — and only two days before a hearing of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee — Rosselló said that he would request assistance from Florida and New York under mutual aid arrangements that utilities traditionally activate to help other states during an emergency. About 80 percent of the people living on the commonwealth’s main island still have no electricity.

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