Puerto Rico Cancels Whitefish Contract
UPDATE: On October 29 (Sunday), it was announced that Puerto Rico’s governor has ordered the cancelation of the Whitefish contract.
PREPA says it is because the negative publicity has made the situation untenable, with line workers being subjected to attacks due to perceived anomalies in the contract.
Power restoration on the island will be delayed at least 10 weeks due to the cancellation. Seventy percent of the territory is still without power.
Estimates are that Whitefish had already been paid 10 million, had already billed an additional 10 million, and will need another 10 million to send their workers from the mainland back home.
How in the world was the small Minnesota company Whitefish able to obtain the $300 million contract for restoring the electrical infrastructure of Puerto Rico?
By not demanding a downpayment.
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s executive director Ricardo Ramos told reporters that they chose Whitefish because the company did not require a big deposit upfront. The other contender for the contract wanted a $25 million down payment for the work, Ramos said. (That competitor appears to be PowerSecure.)
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has been $9 billion in debt and was already struggling to provide service even before the two massive hurricanes hit the island in September.