Gov. Rick Scott will make another visit to Puerto Rico on Friday. He’ll be heading up a group of utility providers who have been invited to help with the restoration of power to the island which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria.
Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello extended the invitation earlier this month.
“Given your experience in managing natural disasters, your guidance on restoring energy would be greatly appreciated,” Rossello wrote in his invitation. “Thus, we will like to extend an invitation to visit Puerto Rico to assess and issue recommendations to expedite energy restoration efforts.”
“Governor Scott has spoken with Governor Rosselló frequently regarding Hurricane Maria recovery and is glad to offer any guidance, advice and assistance they may need,” said John Tupps, Scott’s communications director.
More than a month after Maria tore through the island, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority says it’s generating 30 percent of its typical electricity output. The authority says the grid is so damaged that it’s not sure exactly how many of its customers are without power. It estimates it could take $1 billion to rebuild the system.
“One month after María made landfall in the southeastern part of our island, we still face many challenges that hinder our response efforts,” Gov. Rossello wrote to Scott. “Specifically, restoring electricity to our citizens has become a daunting task, mainly because of the lack of liquidity of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the need for additional assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
Rosselló announced on Sunday that he had directed the authority to cancel a controversial contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings. The small Montana company with only two full-time employees was awarded a $300 million contract to rebuild part of the island’s power grid.
The decision came two days after FEMA expressed serious concerns about the contract.