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Puerto Rico Governor Demands Problematic Energy Deal be Scrapped

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Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló called for an immediate cancellation of a tiny Montana firm's $300 million contract to restore power to the storm-hit U.S. territory, his office confirmed Sunday.

The contract with Puerto Rico's power utility has come under increased criticism after it was revealed that the terms were obtained without a competitive public bidding process.

Whitefish Energy Holdings was awarded the 300-million-dollar contract by state electricity company PREPA, but the 2-year-old company only had two full-time employees until September, according to local media reports.

The company is based in the hometown of U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who knows the senior manager personally and whose son worked at the company over the holidays, according to reports from The New York Times.

Criticism increased, including from U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, after a copy of the contract surfaced online Thursday night and raised more questions, particularly over language blocking oversight of costs and profits.

Whitefish Energy Holdings officials have insisted that they secured the deal legitimately and would not oppose an audit of the company's work.

More than a month after Hurricane Maria ravaged the Caribbean, over 70 percent of the U.S. island territory still has no electricity.

Rosselló said he had reached out to Florida Governor Rick Scott and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to seek help in replacing Whitefish and that they were prepared to assist in restoring power.

He also said he had requested an investigation into how the contract between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and Whitefish was decided so quickly.

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