By Hunter Walker
A $300 million contract to fix Puerto Rico’s hurricane-damaged power grid that was given to a tiny Montana company should be voided, said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who said the process of awarding the no-bid contract raised ethical and legal questions. In an interview with Yahoo News on Tuesday evening, Cruz described the contract as “alarming.”
As of Wednesday morning, 75 percent of Puerto Rico does not have power as a result of damage from Hurricane Maria. The storm hit the island, which is a U.S. territory, on Sept. 20.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority signed the contract with Montana’s Whitefish Energy last month. At the time, the firm had just two full-time employees. The contract was awarded without a competitive bidding process. Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico’s largest city, described the Montana company as inadequate and said there appears to be a lack of “due diligence” behind the contract.
“The contract should be voided right away, and a proper process which is clear, transparent, legal, moral and ethical should take place,” Cruz said.