Speed Reads


The tiny Montana company that won a huge Puerto Rico power contract has new damaging allegations on its hands

An energy company whose $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid was recently cancelled apparently overcharged the island's public power authority for various services, The New York Times reports. The tiny Montana-based company, Whitefish Energy Holdings, was founded in 2015 and employed only two people when it won its contract.

Although Whitefish paid electrical linemen from Florida hourly rates that ranged from $42 to $100, Prepa, Puerto Rico's public power company, was billed $319 an hour for these subcontractors, the Times discovered. Whitefish is additionally charging Prepa $412 a day for food and lodging for its workers and also apparently charged three times the standard rate for aviation fuel and double the rate for a helicopter rental, the Times reports, citing "people with knowledge of the Whitefish contract."

A spokesman for Whitefish told the Times that "simply looking at the rate differential does not take into account Whitefish overhead costs."

Whitefish's contract with Prepa was cancelled in late October, two days after the Federal Emergency Management Agency raised concerns about the bidding process and the price of the contract. The Montana-based company, which has also come under scrutiny for its connections to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, will continue doing repairs to Puerto Rico's power line until the end of November.

Meanwhile, Whitefish's contract with Prepa is being investigated by the FBI. Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria, only 48 percent of Puerto Rico has electricity.