Puerto Rico’s heavily indebted power company is facing a new problem. A federal class-action lawsuit alleges it joined several international oil companies in overcharging customers in the U.S. territory by more than $1 billion.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday by Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP names 20 defendants, including Brazil’s Petrobras and the Shell Trading Company.
It says company officials overpaid suppliers in exchange for kickbacks. And it accuses the island’s Electric Energy Authority of overpaying for millions of barrels of oil that did not meet U.S. environmental standards.
Authority spokeswoman Yoari Molina said there would be no immediate comment.
The island’s government is trying to reform the power company following complaints of corruption and electricity bills that average about twice those of the U.S. mainland.