Montana-based firm will help repair electrical infrastructure in Puerto Rico – Washington Examiner
Whitefish Energy, a small Montana-based company, announced last week it signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority as the island copes with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which has left many on the island without power.
Although the company only had two full-time employees the day Hurricane Maria hit the island, the company said Monday 280 workers are in Puerto Rico, with approximately 10 to 20 people joining the team each day, according to the Washington Post. The company will be repairing and replacing parts of the territory’s electrical infrastructure.
Instead of activating “mutual aid” arrangements with other utilities, PREPA decided to hire Whitefish — even though such agreements in Florida, Texas, and many other states have helped U.S. utilities rebuild following natural disasters.
Some in Congress are raising eyebrows at the contract, but PREPA’s executive director Ricardo Ramos said the company was the first “available to arrive and they were the ones that first accepted terms and conditions for PREPA.”
“The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish,” Susan F. Tierney, a former senior official at the Energy Department and state regulatory agencies, told the Post. “I’m scratching my head wondering how it all adds up.”
Ramos has challenged the concerns.
“The doubts that have been raised about Whitefish, from my point of view, are completely unfounded,” Ramos said.
Although the company is based in the hometown of Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Zinke said he had nothing to do with assisting Whitefish obtain the contract.
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