Tiny Montana Firm Wins $300M Puerto Rico Electricity Contract

Puerto Rico’s state-owned utility company has given a $300 million contract to restore electricity in the storm-battered territory to a two-year-old Montana firm that until recently had only two full-time employees, The Washington Post reports. Whitefish Energy, which announced its deal with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority last week, said Monday it had 280 employees and subcontractors on the ground working to restore power for the majority of the territory’s 3.4 million residents. Puerto Rico’s power authority, PREPA, went with Whitefish instead of activating “mutual aid” agreements it has with other utilities, a move that has reportedly baffled Congress amid concerns over Puerto Rico’s spending. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has acknowledged knowing the company’s chief executive, Andy Techmanski, but his office said the two are only acquainted because “everybody knows everbody” in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish officials have said the company has expertise working in mountainous areas and was willing to work with Puerto Rican authorities when other utilities were reluctant over concerns about payment. The Daily Beast reports Whitefish Energy is primarily financed by a private-equity fund founded and run by a prominent Trump donor.