This is how the local news media describes Whitefish Energy.
The company was established in 2015. It doesn’t have an office and only lists two employees.
Whitefish Energy is little more than a post office box. They grab temporary employees and toss them at small construction jobs—with an emphasis on small. The largest electrical line constructed by Whitefish coming into 2017 was less than five miles long. And yet, Whitefish has acquired the contract to repair the 2,400 miles of electrical lines in Puerto Rico over not just other private companies, but instead of calling in other power companies under an existing series of mutual aid agreements.
Why not exercise those agreements—which brought more than 30,000 utility workers to Florida to repair utilities after Hurricane Irma—rather than count on a tiny company which has brought in 280 temporary workers and is slowly hiring more? No one seems
It’s unclear why PREPA didn’t call for mutual aid when it contracted Whitefish Energy.
But there do seem to be a few clues. Among them are the fact that Whitefish is funded by a private equity firm that includes at least two big Republican donors, and one big friendship.
Luis Vega-Ramos, member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, told The Daily Beast, “Whitefish’s most important expertise or assets seems to have been… having the U.S. secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, as their former congressman and current ally and having the wisdom to retain the services of key people close to the governor [of Puerto Rico].”
Meanwhile, 79 percent of Puerto Rico is without power a month after Hurricane Maria.