Puerto Rico says it’s scrapping $300M Whitefish contract

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The head of Puerto Rico’s power company said Sunday the agency will cancel its $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings amid increased scrutiny of the tiny Montana company’s role in restoring the island’s power system following Hurricane Maria.

The announcement by Ricardo Ramos came hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged the company to scrap the deal.

“It’s an enormous distraction,” Ramos said of the controversy over the contract. “This was negatively impacting the work we’re already doing.”

The current work by Whitefish brigades will not be affected by the cancellation, and that work will be completed in November, Ramos said, adding that the cancellation will delay work by a couple of months while the government finds new companies to help restore power to the island.

Roughly 70 percent of the island remains without power more than a month after Hurricane Maria struck the U.S. territory on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 154 mph.