Puerto Rico's power company says it plans to hire private firms to repair some 106,000 streetlights across the U.S. territory that remain in the dark more than a year after Hurricane Maria.
Technical operations chief Carlos Alvarado says the island's Electric Power Authority does not have enough employees to do the job. He says he expects to contract companies starting in mid-January for repairs that would otherwise take up to eight months.
Alvarado says that the repairs will cost $40 million and that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is to reimburse the amount.
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It isn't immediately clear why the companies were not contracted earlier.
Puerto Rico legislator Victor Pares called the situation a "security emergency" during a hearing on the matter Monday.