After hurricane Maria devastated the lands of Puerto Rico four weeks ago, the majority of the island still remains without electricity. The hurricane caused unprecedented damage to the national Power Grid. Demand for generators is high and prices have skyrocketed. Authorities said that it could take some time before the power grid becomes fully restored.

Due to the unavailability of electricity in Puerto Rico, internet and cellular phone services are affected. So too is the filtration system for potable drinking water. and there are other threats caused by the lack of power.

Authorities worry that if the grid remains unfixed, Puerto Ricans will be exposed to other risks such as heatstroke and contaminated water.

Questionable contract

In the hope of restoring the power source immediately, the government of Puerto Rico awarded a $300 million contract to fix the grid. However, USA Today reported that the deal was questioned and criticized for being awarded to a company founded two years ago and which at the time of the hurricane had only two regular employees. In a short while, the energy firm scaled up instantly to 300 employees and says that there are still 700 more to be added.

Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said on Tuesday that she demands an investigation from the Government Accountability Office for awarding the contract to a “brand new company with two employees.”


Furthermore, a member of the House of Representatives, Luis Vega Ramos accused Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke of being a “glorified middleman” who made the deal to make money off subcontracting.

Whitefish, Montana is the hometown of Zinke and Ramos said that connections to Zinke as well as Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello are the “most important expertise and assets” of the Whitefish Energy.

Rossello had ordered his Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday to audit the details of the contract whether it meets the FEMA and budget office standards in carrying out the restoration of power in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) Chief Executive Officer Ricard Ramos said that they have received few bids from companies. However, with a utility company that filed bankruptcy in July, only two were shortlisted which included Whitefish. He said further that it was only Whitefish who did not ask for a payment guarantee.