JEA Files Lawsuit, Says It's Owed Nearly $5 Million For Puerto Rico Recovery Work

Nov 12, 2019

Claiming it’s owed nearly $5 million for work performed in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s power grid, JEA filed a lawsuit against a company contracted by the island’s electric authority to restore the island’s infrastructure.

The defendant is Montana-based Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC., according to WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record.

Andy Techmanski, Whitefish CEO, did not return multiple calls for comment.

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017 as a Category 5 storm, displacing more than 100,000 people and destroying much of the island’s power grid.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 1, 2017, JEA and Whitefish entered into a subcontract agreement for JEA to provide aid and assistance for power restoration work. Whitefish agreed to reimburse JEA for costs and expenses associated with the restoration.

Whitefish already had a $300 million emergency master service agreement with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, a branch of Puerto Rico’s government, to supervise the restoration.

Between Oct. 4, 2017 and Nov. 21, 2017, JEA provided resources, including equipment and personnel, transported from the U.S. for the restoration and submitted seven weekly invoices to Whitefish for a total of $6,994,964.99 in reimbursement.

The complaint states that Whitefish has remitted to JEA $2,008,351.89, leaving a balance of $4,986,613.10 due based on the terms of the contract.

JEA asks the court to award damages in the amount of the balance due, plus interest and costs.

In the lawsuit, JEA says "Whitefish has acknowledged that the  monies stated are due and owing, but has made no payment in response to this demand."

An expanded version of this story is at JaxDailyRecord.com.