Judge grants $300M loan for Puerto Rico power company

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A federal judge today approved a $300 million loan for Puerto Rico's power company that officials say will help keep the troubled agency operating until late March.

The ruling comes just days after the judge had rejected an initial $1 billion loan request made by a federal control board overseeing the U.S. territory's finances. The judge had said officials did not provide sufficient evidence proving Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority needed the money, so the board submitted a revised request for $300 million on Friday.

Hours before the judge approved the request, Gov. Ricardo Rossello maintained the company still needed a $1 billion loan to keep operating in the months ahead.

"There's no money," he said. "We're in a precarious situation."

The board did not immediately respond to requests for comment after the loan was approved. It had said in a previous filing it plans to request more loans in upcoming weeks.

Gerardo Portela, director of Puerto Rico's financial authority, said in a statement the power company will keep seeking all kinds of financing sources to help fund its operational and reconstruction needs. He also praised the judge's ruling.

"The approved financing will provide PREPA with a much-needed lifeline while safeguarding the operation in the near term," he said.

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