The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has made the decision to cancel its $300M contract with Whitefish Energy. The small company was recently hired to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in September.
When it was announced that Whitefish Energy received the big contract to restore electricity to Puerto Rico the company quickly received criticism from members of Congress and politicians in Puerto Rico. When It was reported that Whitefish Energy only had two employees, but claims to now have a staff of more than 250.
Whitefish Energy Holdings happens to be a company from the very same hometown Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s, which has heightened suspicion about the decision to award the contract to a company that appears to be incapable of handling the project in Puerto Rico.
Ricardo Ramos, executive director of PREPA announced the decision during a press conference, just hours after Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló called for the cancellation of Whitefish Energy’s contract.
“As a result of the information that has been revealed and the need to protect the public interest, as governor, I am asking the power authority to cancel the Whitefish contract immediately,” Rosselló said according to The Washington Post.
“The decision announced today is intended to reaffirm our commitment to transparency in the contracting process in the government of Puerto Rico and to achieve the highest degree of efficiency possible in the restoration of the power grid of our island, in the shortest amount of time possible."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said the contract to Whitefish Energy as made exclusively by PREPA and FEMA was not involved at all. The agency said they have “significant concerns” with how PREPA was able to make the $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy.
Whitefish Energy said they are “very disappointed” in the decision by Governor Rosselló’s decision to request PREPA to cancel the contract.
"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,” a Whitefish Energy Holdings spokesperson said in a statement.
It has been several weeks since Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico and about 75 percent of the island is still without power.