Whitefish Stops Puerto Rico Work Early, Citing Unpaid Debts

Whitefish Energy, the tiny Montana-based company that ignited a political firestorm with a no-bid $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, has announced it is halting work early because it can’t pay its contractors. Andy Techmanski, the company’s chief executive, said Monday that work on restoring the island’s electricity would end 10 days earlier than planned because Puerto Rico’s utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, has failed to pay Whitefish some $83 million. “Today we had to stand down our crews,” Techmanski told Bloomberg News. “We just don’t have the money to continue to support and bankroll PREPA’s operation.” Both PREPA and Whitefish—a previously little-known company with only two employees at the time of Hurricane Maria—came under fire for the $300 million contract, which was canceled amid scrutiny from Congress but wasn’t due to expire until Dec. 1. Ricardo Ramos, PREPA’s executive director, resigned last week over the deal, and Whitefish is facing an investigation over the matter. Less than 47 percent of the island’s electricity has been restored at this point.