On Sunday, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called for the cancellation of Whitefish Energy’s contract to rebuild the country’s power grid after Hurricane Maria. Hours later, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) followed through and canceled the agreement. This news comes after a small Montana company with only two full-time employees won the $300 million deal, which sparked criticism, debate, and questions.
Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski had argued that he had scored the deal with LinkedIn. But, news surfaced that he was closely connected to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The resulting situation led to PREPA head Richardo Ramos to make a tough decision.
“It’s an enormous distraction,” Ramos said of the controversy over the contract. “This was negatively impacting the work we’re already doing.”
The current work by Whitefish teams will not be affected by the cancellation and that work will be completed in November, Ramos said. He said the cancellation will delay work by a couple of months because the government will have to find new companies to help restore power to the island. (via ABC News).
Ultimately, this deal will come to an end, but many Puerto Ricans will continue to suffer without electricity. It is important to note Whitefish engaged in a Twitter debate with the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Perhaps it is time for Puerto Rico’s Governor to call upon Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Tesla to innovate solutions that could help the U.S. territory.