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The Whitefish Contract

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By Ethan Winchester

The U.S. Government is a massive organization. It relies on many third party companies and corporations to save costs, these are called contractors. Contractors are chosen by a bidding system. These bids are the cost of your services to the government. The lower cost, the less the American taxpayer has to pay, and the more likely your bid will be considered, but before that, you and your company are thoroughly investigated. Federal agents look into your taxes, financial history, and general information about your company. So how does a small electric service provider from a small town in Montana, with only two official employees get a $300 million contract from the government?

White fish is a small energy company in Whitefish, Montana, owned by Andy Techmanksi.

The company is rather new, it was founded in 2015. The owners have previously owned a short-lived energy company in Britain. It only lasted for two years before ultimately running out of funds. Andy’s current iteration of his power company has two official employees, but relies mainly on the help of volunteers.

Despite his company’s small size, Andy is good friends with President Trump’s Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke. Zinke hails from Whitefish, Montana, and is a childhood friend of Techmanski. Explaining the connection between the two. Their friendship most likely influenced the bid being accepted.

On Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit the Puerto Rican Territory. Most of the island suffered power outages due to damage to most of the power lines. Puerto Rico’s main power supplier, P.R.E.P.A, is bankrupt by $9 billion. This hinders the ability of the company to do maintenance or have a necessary response to disasters. Most of, if not all of P.R.E.P.A’s 1.5 million customers were affected by the outage.

Shortly after the storm. The Puerto Rican government put out a $300 million dollar to contract to rebuild the country’s power grid. The contract was awarded to Whitefish energy in Montana. Immediately afterward the decision sparked controversy. The deal’s legitimacy was called into question by multiple media organizations and government officials. In response, the contract was canceled.

Recently the contract with Whitefish Energy was reinstated. Work is continuing on the island, despite the controversy and information that has surfaced about the company. An investigation by the FBI and other government agencies are also currently investigating Techmanski and his company.