The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is still reeling following Hurricane Maria, accusations of mismanagement, reoccurring blackouts and a management shakeup.
The utility is under investigation for more than $500 million in contracts with untested companies and is battling to restor power to the island, more than two months since Hurricane Maria. According to authorities, only 54% of the power has been restored.
Last week, PREPA chief executive, Ricardo Ramos, stepped down from his position, and has been replaced by interim head Justo Gonzalez, who was previously director of generation.
Gonzalez faces pressure on multiple fronts, especially in the face of more than $72 billion in debt.
“There are still challenges pre-Maria that need to be addressed as well as challenges right now,” said Jose Roman, interim chair of Puerto Rico’s Energy Commission, which regulates PREPA.
Gonzalez has said he wants a “modern authority,” with standards “on a par with equivalent bodies in the U.S. and worldwide.”
Reuters reports that “The utility has had a stream of executives appointed by the island’s governor, and the latest, Ramos, lasted only about a year. This frequent changing of the guard has disrupted PREPA’s ability to enact long-term change, according to more than a dozen interviews conducted by Reuters.”