FEMA FLIP: Maybe Whitefish Energy wasn’t so bad after all!

Print Article

Whitefish Energy probably wonít say so, but the power contractor won vindication of sorts last week when it got a shout-out from a FEMA official for its work restoring power in Puerto Rico.

Youíll no doubt remember that Whitefish Energy spent time in the dock as public enemy No. 1 last year after it won a $300 million contract from the island territory to restore power in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Perhaps you also recall that we never heard that Whitefish Energy wasnít doing the job it had promised to do. What people complained about was that the company was making a lot of money to do a job that desperately needed to be done.

As a result of the public outrage, Whitefish Energy lost the contract after just one month and completed its work in late November after restoring power to approximately 50 percent of the devastated island.

Lo and behold, it is now two and a half months later, and according to the Voice of America, power has been restored to just 60 percent of the island (https://www.voanews.com/a/puerto-rico-electric-grid/4241096.html). In other words, work has slowed to a crawl since Whitefish Energy was removed from the project.

Maybe thatís why, in hindsight, an official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency now is singing praises of the tiny company that could.

FEMA Region 9 Deputy Administrator Ahsha Tribble was attending a Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board meeting in New York on Feb. 1 when she made this shocking statement:

ďWithout getting kicked from my attorney, Whitefish was there early. They did a good job. They took a risk. That risk is still being weighed.Ē

In other words, the only reason why Whitefish Energy lost the contract was politics.

Tribble was refreshingly candid in her statements, and obviously didnít get the memo that Whitefish Energy was to be treated as an enemy of the state.

ďItís been a challenge for the last 128 days that weíve been there, but I also want to thank people who took a risk to be there in the beginning,Ē Tribble said in her remarks. ďThis is different, itís complex and the elephant in the room ó PREPA doesnít have a lot of money, as we know, so there was a challenge getting people to want to come there in the beginning.Ē

PREPA is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, and it was that organization which hired Whitefish Energy in the first place. They did so because Whitefish Energy did not demand a fistful of cash up front just for showing up. Yes, Whitefish Energy was going to make a lot of money, but if the lives of Puerto Ricans are truly important, then paying the money should not have turned into the main issue.

Getting power back to the island was what Whitefish Energy promised to do, and the company delivered much more efficiently than whoever picked up the job after Whitefish was unceremoniously kicked off the island by self-righteous know-it-alls.

Tribbleís comments are part of a three-hour panel discussion available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/HmyQIj3JC8g

Frank Miele is managing editor of the Daily Inter lake in Kalispell, Montana. He can be reached by email at fmiele@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Frank Miele: Editor's 2 Cents

My country ítis of thee: Letís roll ...

September 22, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Daily Inter Lake OK, so how do you write a last column after 14 years of writing a column nearly every week? First of all, this probably isnít the last time you will ever hear from me. Iím too opinionated to keep qu...

Comments

Read More

A word to the wise: Overthrow your tech overlords while you still can

September 15, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Daily Inter Lake When the history of the 21st century is written, odds are that it will be the story of the slow but willing enslavement of the masses by the tech overlords. Sure we love our smartphones, but is that...

Comments

Read More

ĎI am part of the resistance inside the news media,í and Iím not anonymous

September 08, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Daily Inter Lake Over the years, Iíve been asked to run anonymous letters dozens of times, but Iíve never done so. The explanation is always the same: Our readers have a right to judge the validity of a submitted opi...

Comments

Read More

Saying goodbye: Thirty-four years in the blink of an eye

September 01, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Daily Inter Lake If you need to know the truth, I just got wore out. Thatís why, on Sept. 26, after 18 years at the helm, I will step down as managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake and enter retirement. To paraph...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X