Jacksonville, FL - The Governor of Puerto Rico has canceled a no bid contract between Whitefish Energy and the Puerto Rican electrical authority. The $300 million contract with the small firm from Montana had raised questions in recent days.
“There can be no distraction that alters the commitment to restore the electrical system as quickly as possible,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello said on Sunday morning, as he moved to ask for mutual aid from the U.S. mainland to fix his island’s decimated power grid.
JEA has a team of 41 linemen and personnel in Puerto Rico under terms of the contract with Whitefish. The team has been working to restore power since early October and, based on a statement, the utility is committed to helping the restoration effort.
“We are dedicated to the task at hand - making a meaningful contribution to the people of Puerto Rico by helping to get their electric system up and running as soon as possible. Our very talented and hard-working JEA crew members are in Puerto Rico now and working hard every day”, said Judi Span, Manager of Stakeholder Communications Strategy for JEA.
“Whitefish was the available contracting vehicle when we extended the offer for our professionals to work. As that circumstance changes, we will work with PREPA and anyone else that may be assigned to make this devastating situation better”.
JEA’s contract called for the first crew to rotate out with another team after a 30 day period. JEA had resources committed for 90 days. The status of the next crew is not yet known.
JEA says it intends to bill Whitefish Energy to cover its costs, which is consistent with how the utility handles mutual aid situations. Whitefish Energy is covering up-front all of the logistics costs which includes lodging and transportation.
Puerto Rico’s Governor has asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to visit the island to help.
“Given your experience in managing natural disasters, your guidance on restoring energy would be greatly appreciated,” says the invitation.
Scott’s office says he will travel to Puerto Rico on Friday, along with a delegation of Florida utility providers.