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Puerto Rico utility head resigns after slow Maria response

Staff Writer |
The head of Puerto Rico's indebted utility, Ricardo Ramos, has resigned following criticism of the slow restoration of power to the island after Hurricane Maria, the U.S. territory's governor said.

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Ramos, who was named head of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) in 2016, was also criticized over controversial contracts. His resignation was effective Friday, Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a statement.

Rossello recommended Justo Gonzalez as interim director, according to a separate statement. Gonzalez is currently director of power generation at PREPA, a role he took on in April 2017.

Gonzalez previously was the company's planning and environmental protection director and operations manager of the Aguirre Steam Plant.

PREPA's board will meet later on Friday to discuss Rossello's recommendation to succeed Ramos, who was appointed by the governor.

Rossello said he supported a search within and outside Puerto Rico to fill the role permanently.

"I am hoping they do it as quickly as possible," said Jose Roman Morales, interim chairman of Puerto Rico's energy commission, which regulates PREPA.

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