Puerto Rico moves to privatize troubled power company

The Washington Post / The Associated Press – Puerto Rico’s governor announced Monday that he is moving to privatize the U.S. territory’s public power company after its slow, troubled recovery from Hurricane Maria focused new attention on longstanding accusations of mismanagement and corruption.

Nearly 30 percent of customers on this island of 3.3 million people remain without power more than four months after Hurricane Maria. Many blame the failings of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA.

Its director was forced out in November after the utility failed to immediately call for help from its mainland counterparts after the storm. Instead, PREPA granted a power-restoration contract to a little-known company that the utility was later forced to rescind. Most recently, PREPA was blamed for the failure to distribute badly needed parts found in one of its warehouses even as repairs went undone for lack of supplies.

Founded in 1979 as a public utility run by appointees of the island’s governor, PREPA is roughly $9 billion in debt and years before Maria’s September landfall, the company was criticized for political patronage and inefficiency. It was also beset by frequent blackouts, including an island-wide outage in September 2016.

Read more at The Washington Post.