Puerto Rico utility moves to scrap $300M Whitefish contract

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – The top of Puerto Rico’s energy firm stated Sunday the company is cancelling its $300 million contract with Whitefish Power Holdings amid scrutiny of the tiny Montana firm’s position in restoring the island’s energy system.

The announcement by Ricardo Ramos got here hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged the utility to scrap the deal for Whitefish’s assist in rebuilding the electrical system from the injury inflicted by Hurricane Maria.

“It is an unlimited distraction,” Ramos stated of the controversy over the contract. “This was negatively impacting the work we’re already doing.”

The present work by Whitefish groups won’t be affected by the cancellation and that work might be accomplished in November, Ramos stated. He stated the cancellation will delay pending work by 10 to 12 weeks if no options are discovered.

Ramos stated he had not talked with Whitefish executives about his announcement. “A lawsuit could possibly be forthcoming,” he warned.

Whitefish spokesman Chris Chiames advised The Related Press that the corporate was “very disillusioned” within the governor’s determination, and stated it might solely delay efforts to revive energy.

He stated Whitefish introduced 350 staff to Puerto Rico in lower than a month and it anticipated to have a complete of 500 this week. Chiames stated the corporate accomplished essential work, together with a venture that may quickly result in a half million individuals in San Juan getting energy.

“We will definitely end any work that (the facility firm) needs us to finish and stand by our commitments,” he stated.

Roughly 70 % of the U.S. territory stays with out energy greater than a month after Maria struck on Sept. 20 as a Class four storm with winds of as much as 154 mph (245 kph). Ramos stated Sunday that the full of value of restoring the system would come to $1.2 billion.

The cancellation shouldn’t be official till permitted by the utility’s board. Ramos stated it might take impact 30 days after that.

Ramos stated the corporate already has paid Whitefish $10.9 million to convey its staff and heavy gear to Puerto Rico and has a $9.eight million cost pending for work completed to date.

Ramos stated cancellation of the contract won’t result in a penalty, nevertheless it’s probably the federal government can pay at the least $eleven million for the corporate to go residence…

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