Whitefish Energy run a small family business in the ski town of Whitefish, Montana. Mr. Techmanski and his son are the only employees this energy company has. Their most important projects concern a power line rebuild after a fire incident in Washington State as well as an ongoing transformer supply to an electric entity in Montana. However, the same small firm won a $300 million contract to reconnect hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to energy.
The Owner of the Small Energy Company Claimed that Being the First to Respond to Puerto Rican Authority Got Him a $300 Million Contract
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority hired Whitefish Energy to fix 100 miles of power transmission cables all around the island. Hurricane Maria heavily damaged the electric grid of the commonwealth.
A month after the devastating storm struck Puerto Rico, the region solved few of its problems. Locals are still living in the dark, and the landscape has still kept the image of a disaster outcome.
While the island needs large efforts to regain the same position as before Hurricane Maria, authorities turned to small companies for help. Mr. Techmanski claimed that Puerto Rico’s bankrupt power authority contacted them through a telephone.
Afterward, the business owner hopped on a plane and reached the devastated island. As he was the first to appear on site and didn’t ask for an advance, Mr. Techmanski was the one who won the contract.
The opposition decries this collaboration. A Puerto Rican opposition senator, Eduardo Bhatia, claimed that the story doesn’t add up.
“A two-employee company from Whitefish, Mont., gets a $300 million contract out of nowhere? Based on what?”
Bhatia believes that authorities infringed numerous rules to get help. They didn’t run any background checks before hiring the small energy company for a $300 million project.
The Power Authority Could Have Resorted to Mutual Aid Agreements Instead of Hiring Help
After a devastating event that impacts an entire nation, authorities have the right to turn to ‘mutual aid’ agreement. Once this accord gets activated, all workers and companies are summoned even out of state to restore balance. Florida enjoyed the support of 180,000 workers who fixed energy problems after Hurricane Irma.
However, the American Public Power Association announced that Puerto Rican authorities didn’t contact them after Hurricane Maria. This agency is the sole organization that can coordinate municipally owned utilities. Instead of getting help from thousands of specialists free of charge, chief executive Ricardo Ramos hired a two-person company six days after the hurricane hit the island.
Mr. Techmanski has now 300 workers under his supervision. Nonetheless, his contractual work is not going to cover all the energy problems Puerto Rico has. There are other 2,300 miles of transmission lines that need repairs. At the moment, 75% of the island doesn’t have power.
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