Puerto Rico May Get $2 Billion for Power Grid, Governor Says

  • Federal funds would help rebuilding after Hurricane Maria
  • Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands to receive $6.8 billion

A Tale of Two Puerto Ricos

Puerto Rico’s electric utility would receive $2 billion of federal funds to help repair the damage left by Hurricane Maria under a deal reached in Congress, Governor Ricardo Rossello said.

U.S. House and Senate leadership have agreed to allocate more than $6.8 billion of disaster relief aid to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, mostly to cover Medicaid costs, Rossello said in a statement Wednesday. Puerto Rico would receive another $2 billion for energy infrastructure.

The bankrupt Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as Prepa, is struggling to restore electricity to nearly 500,000 customers more than four months since the storm. It’s operating at 80 percent of its capacity as of Tuesday.

“I welcome congressional recognition of the need to not just restore power, but to also vastly improve the resilience and efficiency of our energy infrastructure,” Rossello said in a statement.

Prepa is working to reduce its $9 billion debt load in U.S. court. Hurricane Maria destroyed the utility’s infrastructure, knocking down power lines and causing a hydropower dam to burst. Prepa was susceptible to outages before the storm, with its aging system hurt by years of mismanagement and neglect.

The disaster relief funds are part of a larger U.S. budget deal that Congress is working on.

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