Ricardo Rossello, Governor of Puerto Rico, has announced that he is moving to privatise the publicly-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) after the lengthy recovery from the damage caused by hurricane Maria. This slow recovery has focused attentions on claims of mismanagement at PREPA. Nearly 30 per cent of customers remain without power more than four months after Hurricane Maria.
The Director at PREPA resigned in November after the utility failed to immediately call for help from its US counterparts after the storm, but instead granted a power restoration contract to Whitefish Energy, a small company formed in 2015 in Whitefish, Montana, USA. PREPA later rescinded the contract with Whitefish Energy.
PREPA is valued at roughly $4 billion, and has $9 billion in debt. Rossello said: “The Electric Power Authority has become a heavy burden for our people. The deficient and obsolete system of generation and distribution of energy is one of the great impediments to our economic development.”
Over the next few days, government officials will begin working with legislators to begin defining how to sell the utility’s assets. Rossello said that the process could take around 18 months.