The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (NEPR) did not anticipate an adjustment in the rate of the subscribers of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) after the privatization process of the transmission and distribution system with the privatizing company LUMA Energy had been completed.
This was established by the president of the NEPR, Edison Avilés Deliz, during a public hearing of the Energy Commission of the House of Representatives, attended by only two representatives of the New Progressive Party (PNP). Minorities were also not present at the third hearing related to the implementation of the laws that order the transformation and reconstruction of the energy system affected by the hurricanes of 2017 and the earthquakes that occurred this year.
“What I do have no doubt about, and I am saying it in my personal character, is that if the purpose of the transformation is to have a better, fairer and more reasonable system for each of the consumers, I do not see why do we have to be worrying about a request for a rate hike when they (LUMA) have expressed that they are not going to do it, “said the official when asked by the president of the Energy Commission, Víctor Parés Otero.
Avilés Deliz emphasized that LUMA does not have the power to impose an adjustment to the rate or the price per kilowatt hour because, regardless of the contract with LUMA, the request has to go through the negotiated one. “In the event that they do so and come to the business because it is their right to request an increase in the rate for whatever reasons, you (Parés) can be sure that we are going to be aware that this would be justified. In my personal character, I indicate to him that —with regard to the payment of LUMA, according to the contractual agreement— I do not see why that entails a rate increase, “he said.
He reiterated that the regulatory and supervisory power of energy is more than the one they had with PREPA. “The NEPR shall be obliged to ensure that any modification results in the rights, rents, rates and any other type of charge charged by LUMA Energy being fair and providing reliable services at the lowest reasonable cost,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Lilian Mateo, commissioner of the NEPR, said that they have not yet received a plan to start the reconstruction works that would be financed with the $ 10.51 billion that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allocated in recent days. For this, PREPA must present a ten-year plan. In another chamber hearing, PREPA’s executive director, Efran Paredes, could not specify when the reconstruction work on the electricity system will begin under that budget allocation.
“No, this plan has not been submitted to the NEPR, but PREPA is warned that any capital improvement — regardless of the source of the funds — has to be reviewed and approved by the negotiator. So we are anticipating that they are going to send us that plan, “said Avilés Deliz.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Parés Otero affirmed that the statutes governing public energy policy and the transition to LUMA included amendments to regulate possible increases in the electricity rate.
“That is why it is important to make it clear that the Energy Bureau is the regulatory entity that ensures that all provisions in the approved laws are complied with and who will evaluate any request from the contracted company for any change that affects consumers,” he said. .