Whitefish Energy stops work in Puerto Rico over $83M owed

PHOTO: Whitefish Energy Holdings workers stand on towers to restore lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, Oct. 15, 2017. PlayRamon Espinosa/AP
WATCH Puerto Rico cancels $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy

Whitefish Energy company announced that it has decided to stop its work in Puerto Rico after Puerto Rico Energy Power Authority stopped payments, owing the company $83 million.

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In a statement, the Montana-based company said despite the company’s “diligence and that of its subcontractors” payments under the contract with the island’s bankrupt energy authority have been delayed. Whitefish said that it will not continue any work and will not perform any additional work until PREPA pays for work that has already been completed.

PREPA confirmed that it had stopped payments to Whitefish Energy after receiving “a communication from one of Whitefish's subcontractors requesting the stoppage of any payment to the company, since it owed the subcontractor money.”

PREPA added that it is in communication with Whitefish and the subcontractor to resolve the situation. PREPA did not confirm the amount owed to Whitefish.

PREPA signed a controversial contract with Whitefish Energy, which only has two full-time employees, for $300 million, which was canceled after public backlash. Even though the contract was canceled, the terms of the contract stated Whitefish would work for an additional 30 days and complete its projects. The date of the contract’s completion is Nov. 30.

Two months after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, only 46.6 percent of the island’s electrical grid has power. Officials on the ground have not given a number of how many homes or businesses are receiving that power.