San Juan – The executive director of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA), Efran Paredes Maisonet, said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning that the rise in the price of electricity is final and firm and cannot be reversed.
“This increase was established with the (Energy) Bureau and was discussed since December 15 of last year. The quarterly reconciliation was submitted at that time, ”at the request of PREPA, Paredes Maisonet confirmed in a radio interview with Rubén Sánchez on WKAQ 580.
“The Authority (of Electric Power) in the current rate structure is obliged to render all accounts to the Bureau (of Energy) in terms of expenses and revenues,” said Paredes Maisonet.
Faced with the question of why the information on the rise in the cost of electricity emerged this week, despite the fact that it was taken on December 31 last, the Executive Director of PREPA said that “all this information is public. It is on the Internet pages of the Bureau ”.
Paredes Maisonet said it will pay “about a 4.5 to 5 percent increase (in the cost of energy) against the previous billing.”
“It’s something that nobody really wants to happen. But there are some realities. The Authority is obliged to submit some numbers to the Bureau to be able to make a reconciliation (of income and expenses) and it is part of the current process that is running, part of the rate scrutiny at this time, ”said Paredes Maisonet.
The rise in the price of electricity is due to a higher cost in the price of the fuel PREPA uses to generate energy.
They question the rise in the electricity rate
For his part, the Consumer Representative before PREPA’s Governing Board, the engineer Tomás Torres Placa, questioned this Tuesday the projected increase in the cost of electricity for the months of January, February, and March of 0.81 cents per kilowatt per hour (KWH), equivalent to 4.7 percent of the current cost.
This in accordance with the resolution and order of the Energy Bureau of December 31, 2020.
“Although the intention of the order of the Energy Bureau of December 31 is to adjust the cost of electricity based on the cost of fuel, this order makes serious indications regarding multiple inconsistencies found between the fuel costs presented by PREPA and the market costs, ”said Torres Placa in a written statement.
The order reveals that there is a gap in the fuel inventory, which has an effect on the cost that PREPA recognizes in its records, especially during the months of June, July, and August 2020. For this period, according to the data presented by PREPA for the total cost of fuel purchased versus consumed, the San Juan and Palo Seco plants had a diesel cost of $ 102 and $ 76 per barrel respectively, when the cost in the market was approximately $ 59 per barrel.
The adjustment in the rate requested by PREPA for the cost of fuel for the June, July, and August period was an increase of 2.75 cents per kWh (approximately 16 percent of the bill). This increase did not materialize in the October-December 2020 quarter, as the reconciliation process in terms of fuel cost was stopped until PREPA presents additional information.
Then, in November, it was reported that the Bureau hired the Larking and Associates firm to conduct an audit of the past three years of the purchase, acquisition, transportation, storage, and supervision and consumption analysis processes.
“Because these incongruities in fuel costs continue to be evaluated, the Energy Bureau should not have approved an increase until all these required reconciliations and analyzes are finally completed,” said Torres Placa.
“Any irregularity in the cost of fuel must be detected and addressed by PREPA before passing the data to the Bureau within a framework of diligence and good administration. The Bureau, on the other hand, as part of its analysis and audit, must make its findings public and make specific recommendations to eradicate once and for all the problems related to the purchase, management, and the processes of supervision and analysis of fuel consumption in PREPA. that directly harm consumers with high costs ”concluded Torres Placa.