Two years after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, the repair and recovery of the island’s power delivery system is still underway.
This week that effort encountered a setback when Governor Wanda Vazquez announced that she plans to cancel a deal for grid repair work between Canadian engineering firm Stantec and Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority (PREPA), according to Utility Dive.
The governor’s reasoning for her decision was not apparent. She used social media to make her announcement by posting a statement to Twitter on Sunday evening, August 11 at 7:30 p.m.
In her statement, she said all government contracts will be reevaluated in the name of "transparency." She added that "in this administration there is no room for unreasonable expenses." According to the governor, the canceled deal is valued at $450,000.
Hurricane Mariawreaked havoc on Puerto in 2017, killing more than 3,000 people and destroying the island’s power delivery system. The island was left completely without power for months. Some parts remained in the dark for a year.
The centerpiece of the recovery is the goal to reach 100 percent renewables by the year 2050. In pursuit of that goal, PREPA plans to install almost 1.4 GW of solar generation and 920 MW of battery storage in the first four years of its overhaul, from 2019 to 2022.
Vasquez’s decision comes only days into her term. She took office on August 7. Her predecessor, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, resigned a few days before in the face of controversy and a possible impeachment by the state legislature, according to ABC News. Protestors had taken to the streets and public figures had called for his resignation after a private chat with aides revealed possible criminal behavior and a disdainful attitude toward the public and political opponents. The scandal was also fueled by long-simmering resentment over political corruption and mismanagement, including a poor response to Hurricane Maria.