Tags: puerto rico | power | whitefish energy | montana

Two-man Firm Gets Contract to Restore Power to Puerto Rico

Two-man Firm Gets Contract to Restore Power to Puerto Rico
In this Oct. 15, 2017 photo, Whitefish Energy Holdings workers restore power lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. (Ramon Espinosa/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 October 2017 09:29 AM

A Montana energy firm with only two full-time employees a month ago has signed a $300 million contract to restore power to Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria destroyed the island's electrical grid leaving more than three million residents in the dark, the Washington Post reported.

Whitefish Energy has since hired 280 linemen and other contract workers in Puerto Rico to repair a power grid of 2,400 transmission lines, 30,000 miles of distribution lines and 300 substations, company spokesman Chris Chiames told the Post. The killer storm that struck the U.S. territory Sept. 20 wiped out 80 percent of the electrical grid.

Chiames justified the unusual contract to the tiny company in Whitefish, Montana, saying the firm was willing to deal with the bankrupt government of Puerto Rico, while larger companies hesitated.

"We are taking personal risks and business risks working in perilous physical and financial conditions," Chiames said. "So the carping by others is unfounded, and we stand by our work and our commitment to the people of Puerto Rico."

Ricardo Ramos, executive director of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, added that Whitefish was the first company "available to arrive" on the island and the first to accept the terms and conditions of the power authority.

However, the unusual contract is raising questions in Washington where the House Committee on Natural Resources is examining the deal.

"The size and unknown details of this contract raises numerous questions," committee spokesman Parish Braden told the Post.

"This is one of many things the committee is taking a close look at as it continues to work with the resident commissioner, governor's office, and oversight board to ensure Puerto Rico's recovery is robust, effective and sustained."

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A Montana energy firm with only two full-time employees a month ago has signed a $300 million contract to restore power to Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria destroyed the island's electrical grid leaving more than three million residents in the dark, the Washington Post...
puerto rico, power, whitefish energy, montana
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2017-29-24
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 09:29 AM
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