Concerns over the mysterious agreement signed between the little-known Whitefish Energy company and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority were validated on Thursday night after a copy of the contract was leaked.
According to the agreement, which was first obtained by reporter Ken Klippenstein, Whitefish Energy is effectively shielded from any sort of governmental audit, or review of the company’s costs and profit. What’s more, the government is barred from making claims against Whitefish “related to delayed completion of work.”
Essentially, Whitefish’s contract to repair the power grid that was destroyed when Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico affords the government an astonishing lack of supervision over the company, and little recourse should the company fail to deliver on time.
Whitefish Energy—whose investors include major donors to the Republican party and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign—has been under increased scrutiny since it was awarded the $300 million contract to repair Puerto Rico’s devastated electrical infrastructure. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz described the agreement as “alarming,” and demanded it be voided immediately; two congressional committees have called on Whitefish Energy and PREPA to produce documents relating to the contract agreement, ahead of presentations on Capitol Hill; and Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello promised “hell to pay” should any malfeasance be uncovered.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Whitefish Energy welcomed the attention, writing:
Whitefish Energy appreciates the efforts of the committees to gather information so that they have confidence in the overall process to support the people of Puerto Rico as well Whitefish Energy’s capabilities and commitment to deliver on the contract to help restore power and a sense of normalcy for the people of Puerto Rico
Despite the company’s optimism, just 27% of the island had electricity by Friday morning, more than one month after the hurricane made landfall.