PREPA’s Ricardo Ramos cancels plans to testify earlier than a House panel

Small power company lands $300M Puerto Rico contract

The head of Puerto Rico’s state-owned utility will not be coming to Washington on Tuesday in any case.

Ricardo Ramos, the manager director of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority, late Monday night canceled his plans to look earlier than a House congressional committee, the place he was anticipated to reply to a variety of questions over his dealing with of the island’s energy restoration efforts.

Topping the listing: How a $300 million contract was awarded to a small Montana firm situated in the identical hometown as U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

PREPA chairman Ernesto Sgoi knowledgeable the committee in a Nov. 6 letter that Ramos couldn’t be away throughout such a “critical stage” in restoring electrical energy to the island.

Related: Puerto Rico is killing its $300 million Whitefish contract. Now what?

“He has communicated to us regretfully, he is unable to participate in the scheduled hearing due to urgent efforts on the ongoing emergency restoration,” Sgoi wrote to the committee.

Sgoi stated PREPA is now anticipating three,000 employees and needed tools from Florida and New York utilities that might be arriving regularly by Nov. 21.

“Having him off the island for the three days required to come to Washington, D.C. would undoubtedly disrupt our restoration efforts — a result we know would not be acceptable to members of the committee,” wrote Sgoi.

Ramos was amongst a number of key officers in Puerto Rico that had been scheduled to testify earlier than the House Committee on Natural Resources at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. He didn’t submit ready testimony in lieu of his look.

A spokesman for the House committee stated, “We look forward to hearing from the [PREPA Governing] Board on the path to transparency at PREPA.”

Also showing earlier than the committee on Tuesday: Natalie Jaresko, the manager director of the monetary oversight board, and Noel Zamot, who was just lately appointed to supervise PREPA.

Related: Here’s the opposite small agency that received an enormous Puerto Rico energy deal

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has been essential of the Trump administration’s restoration efforts, can be scheduled to testify.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House panel, advised reporters on Monday key goal of Tuesday’s listening to is to know how the contract with Whitefish got here to be.

“There has to be some kind of oversight, there has to be some kind of transparency, so a situation like Whitefish does not occur again,” Bishop stated.

The Whitefish contract was the most important to be awarded since restoration efforts started over a month in the past. But within the wake of escalating public outrage and a rising litany of presidency evaluations, PREPA agreed to take steps to cancel the deal.

Several lawmakers on Capitol Hill have additionally known as for evaluations of how Whitefish was chosen over greater, extra established utilities by PREPA. Last week, it was reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had opened a preliminary evaluate of the contract, based on a supply aware of the matter.

CNNMoney (Washington) First printed November 7, 2017: 12:24 AM ET

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