Puerto Rico to scrap $300M Whitefish Energy contract; company "very disappointed"

Almost three quarters of Puerto Rico is without electricity, more than a month after Hurricane Maria smashed into the island.

Whitefish Energy Holdings was awarded a $300 million no-bid contract in the days leading up to Hurricane Maria making landfall.

In tweets Sunday morning, Rosselló also called for additional measures to scrutinize contracting by the territory's power authority more carefully. The 2-year-old company had just two full-time employees when the storm hit, but it has since hired more than 300 workers.

One day after Whitefish signed the $300 million contract, it "failed a safety audit to obtain a basic license to truck supplies on US roadways".

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, and President Donald Trump traveled there after Hurricane Maria struck.

Ramos said the company already has paid Whitefish $10.9 million to bring its workers and heavy equipment to Puerto Rico and has a $9.8 million payment pending for work done so far.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) board moved to terminate the contract with Whitefish Energy Sunday. Surprise! Whitefish, MT is the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke!

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The contract noted that, even without securing "approvals or funding from FEMA or some other source", PREPA would still owe Whitefish for its work. Ramos also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency had approved of the deal, something the agency has denied.

Whitefish Energy said it had brought in 350 workers, 400 trucks, cranes and elevators and five helicopters to begin work to fix the electrical grid.

Whitefish continued to tout its successes during its time in Puerto Rico.

If Gov. Rosselló gets his way and the contract is canceled, the governor wants to bring in more power crews from NY and Florida. Fema said it was not involved in the selection of Whitefish and that is has "significant concerns" about how it was decided.

"The decision will only delay what the people of Puerto Rico want and deserve-to have the power restored quickly in the same manner their fellow citizens on the mainland experience after a natural disaster", Whitefish said in a statement. "Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless".

A day after a Puerto Rico utility stepped away from a controversial restoration contract, the United Nations said it was anxious by the pace of reconstruction.

"While Whitefish is not aware of any such investigation, Whitefish is committed to full cooperation with any inquiry or investigation", the company said in a statement.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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