CEO of Puerto Rico's state-owned power utility resigns amid outages

CEO of Puerto Rico's state-owned power utility resigns amid outages
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The CEO of Puerto Rico’s state-owned power utility announced his resignation on Monday as thousands of customers remain without power after the tropical storm last week.

José Ortiz is expected to resign on Wednesday as many of the 1.5 million customers have grown frustrated with recurrent power outages and how the Electric Power Authority addresses them, The Associated Press reported

Last week, more than 300,000 customers went without power in an outage that occurred before Tropical Storm Isaias struck the island. After the tropical storm, more than 400,000 customers were left without power, and by Monday, more than 20,000 did not have power restored, according to the AP.

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Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez said Ortiz’s resignation follows her meeting with the president of the Electric Power Authority’s board as she looked into how the outages have been handled. 

Ortiz said Monday he had committed to the position of CEO for two years when he was chosen in July 2018 in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which also caused massive outages across the U.S. territory.  

“My resignation comes at an appropriate moment in the transformation of PREPA into the modern electric utility all Puerto Ricans deserve,” Ortiz said in a statement obtained by the AP.

The resigning CEO had said the non-storm-related outage last week could be attributed to human error or sabotage, but other company officials said the cause still needs to be investigated.