Puerto Rico governor wants Whitefish contract cancelled 'immediately'

Puerto Rico's Frantic Search for Someone to Turn on the Lights

Puerto Rico's governor has called for a contract given to a tiny Montana firm to help reconstruct the island's power grid to be cancelled, his office said.

A financial oversight board Congress created for Puerto Rico is planning to go to a federal court this week to seek clear authority to examine contracts as small as $10 million. Residents, local officials and US federal authorities all criticized the arrangement. Andrew Cuomo to have state officials assume the task of restoring Puerto Rico's power.

Some 75% of Puerto Ricans have no power five weeks after Hurricane Maria. About 80 percent of the people living on the island still have no electricity.

"This was something exclusively determined by the Puerto Rican government", she said Friday. The territory has reached out to officials in Florida and NY, which have already sent people to Puerto Rico, to send more crews in the event that Whitefish departs.

FEMA says it hasn't approved any reimbursement requests from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority for money to cover the ongoing repairs to the island's power grid following Hurricane Maria.

FEMA said in a statement Friday that any language in the contract saying the agency approved the deal with Whitefish Energy Holdings is inaccurate.

Members of Congress have called for an investigation into the contract. It has since hired more than 300 workers. Zinke has said he had nothing to do with the contract.

"The contract is not cancelled as of yet".

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"I petitioned the board of Prepa to invoke the cancellation clause", the governor said at a press conference on Sunday. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, senior Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the Whitefish contract "raises every red flag in the book". Federal regulators say they have picked one of their own to do the job. The contract was awarded without a competitive bidding process, Reuters reported, which drew criticism from lawmakers who are now looking into the deal.

If Zamot focuses on restoring power, he could be the kind of storm boss the power industry wants. Nearly six weeks later, more than two thirds of customers remain in the dark.

Eventually, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was put in charge of power restoration.

Rossello said he had discussions with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and New York Gov.

Speaking to CNN, Cuomo said he could send hundreds of work crews to Puerto Rico to assist with the fix work.

The company did not immediately return BBC News' request for comment on the governor's statement. The group, he said, is "working with all the authorities to try to [install] a storm boss, or a power restoration coordinator, to align all the various work streams".

And that the Puerto Rican government "waives any claim against contractor related to delayed completion of work". The government already paid Whitefish $8 million and does not expect the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse that sum, the sources said.

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