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article imageTwo energy companies investigated for contracts with Puerto Rico

By Karen Graham     Nov 13, 2017 in Politics
Montana's Whitefish Energy is due to leave Puerto Rico on November 30, after their contract with the island's power company was terminated two weeks ago. But there is more dirty laundry being pulled out for scrutiny and it concerns money, as usual.
Whitefish Energy, a very small company in Montana, hired contractors from Florida, something the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) could have done and sent them to Puerto Rico, paying them 1/7 what they were charging PREPA.
According to the New York Times, electrical workers are earning $42 an hour, senior power linemen are getting $63 an hour and 40 linemen are earning $100 an hour, double-time. However, according to the contract, Whitefish Energy is billing PREPA $319 an hour for linemen.
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Ken KlippensteinVerified account
Industry experts are saying the charges are far above the norm even for emergency work and almost 17 times the average salary of their counterparts in Puerto Rico.
A spokesman for Whitefish, Chris Chiames, defended the costs, saying that “simply looking at the rate differential does not take into account Whitefish’s overhead costs,” which were built into the rate. “We have to pay a premium to entice the labor to come to Puerto Rico to work."
To make matters worse, Whitefish is billing two to three times the usual rate for helicopters, at $4,000 an hour, as well as aviation fuel, and $412 a day per worker for food and hotel stays. The Whitefish contract, worth $300 million, was canceled by Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló in late October after questions arose over costs in the two-year contract.
Cobra Energy is a relatively new subsidiary of Mammoth Energy.
Cobra Energy is a relatively new subsidiary of Mammoth Energy.
Mammoth Energy
There is a second questionable contract
It has come to light that an Oklahoma-based fracking company, Mammoth Energy, announced in late October it's subsidiary, Cobra Energy had signed a $200 million, four-month contract with PREPA, according to VOX.
The CEO of Mammoth says Cobra has electrical experience in the Midwest, but the company, with headquarters in Houston, Texas, has been in business one year, with 275 employees at that location and has annual revenues of approximately $257,241.
Basically, for $200 million, Cobra has been contracted to design and build a new electric grid for Puerto Rico in four months. The Cobra contract was signed just a few days after the Whitefish contract, and PREPA put down a $15 million deposit to start work on the grid, even though the contract didn't go through a bidding process.
More about Puerto rico, whitefish energy, PREPA, second contract, Investigation
 
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