Explosive news out of Puerto Rico reveals that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has been hoarding aid supplies for months. The state-owned corporation, which is owned by the Puerto Rican government itself, allegedly hid a “a massive store of rebuilding materials,” the bulk of which may have significantly hampered attempts to restore power to the area. The majority of Puerto Rico was without power for nearly 112 days after the grid and system was virtually decimated during Hurricane Maria.
• Federal agents entered the warehouse by force, after several tips and an investigation led them to believe the PREPA was engaging in deception and corruption. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was also present and took part in the operation, as was a federal security detail who aided with disbursement afterward.
• Agents were able to recover thousands of dollars in supplies, including “2,875 pieces of critical material to contractors’ along with the sleeves of full-tension steel.” Without these supplies, workers would have been virtually unable to raise new power lines and re-establish much of the power grid.
• When the encounter first occurred, nearly 50 percent of Puerto Rico was still without power. Days later, workers had managed to restore power to 83 percent of the island.
• Videos taken in a local school on the island showed both teachers and students celebrating as the lights came back on. Most schools have been operating on generator power or without power at all for around 100 days.
• Some leaders are sharing concerns for Puerto Rico’s ability to control PREPA because the power provider lacks thorough regulation. PREPA currently answers to only one regulator, and Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party is currently attempting to remove that regulator once and for all. Such a move would allow the power provider to hoard supplies or engage in deceptive practices almost freely.
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What type of punishment do you think entities or people who do this should face?