LAKELAND, Fla. (WTSP) -- Lakeland Electric is still waiting to be paid for the work its linemen did in Puerto Rico. The company they did the work for, Whitefish Energy, is under investigation and its contract with Puerto Rico’s public utility has been canceled.
Lakeland Electric claims Whitefish owes it more than $660,000.
Crews left their loved ones behind to work long hours with limited supplies in mountainous terrain. They’ve been paid for their work, but Lakeland Electric hasn’t seen a dime from Whitefish.
“We're not overly concerned right now, and if that changes, we'll address it,” said Cindy Clemmons, a spokesperson for Lakeland Electric.
Clemmons explained Whitefish should’ve paid immediately upon receiving Lakeland Electric’s invoices, per the contract. However, they still have faith Whitefish will pay them.
If Whitefish doesn't hold up its end of the deal, the utility would have to dip into its own reserves.
“One of the many reasons you have a reserve is for circumstances like an emergency situation like hurricanes,” Clemmons said.
Clemmons also said FEMA might reimburse them if Whitefish doesn’t pay, so even if customers in Lakeland don't have to foot the bill, taxpayers across the country might have to.
While payment from Whitefish isn't certain, Clemmons said one thing is: Customers' rates won't go up to make up the difference.
10News reached out to a spokesperson at Whitefish to ask when they plan to pay Lakeland Electric, but we haven't heard back.
Lakeland Electric tells us Jacksonville Electric Authority sent some crews to Puerto Rico, and Whitefish has paid them part of the money it owes.