San Juan – The Fiscal Control Board (JCF), cataloged on Thursday as an “unlikely event of success” the cancellation of the contract contracted by the Electric Power Authority (PREPA), with the company LUMA Energy as several candidates for governor have said that they would.
“The LUMA contract is the result of an extensive, legal and careful process that was and still is required under Puerto Rico’s P3 Law. It is also the result of the clear need to transform the electricity sector, as set out in Law 120-2018 and Law 17-2019, and as recognized by the Government and the Control Board. PREPA does not have a legal option to cancel the contract, and the discussions on the cancellation of the contract are not helpful to the clear need to transform the agency and attract private sector investment and job creation in Puerto Rico. Discussions about contract cancellation are also not doing good to individuals and businesses in Puerto Rico, who deserve more reliable, lower-cost, and cleaner energy. The LUMA transaction will achieve these critical goals, ”the JCF told CyberNews in written statements.
“PREPA, as it currently exists, and as it has existed for the last decade or more, has not served the people of Puerto Rico very well. Both the Government and the Board concluded that a private operator is essential to achieve a necessary change. Bringing in an experienced operator to transform the electrical grid with greater reliability, resilience, and lower costs is vital so that better electricity service can be offered to the people of Puerto Rico. LUMA will operate the network in a more efficient manner than PREPA, offer better services to consumers, and provide better safety standards for employees and the public than PREPA. The global experience of the business partners that make up LUMA, the rigorous safety records and knowledge of Puerto Rico will reduce costs, reduce spending on external consultants, reduce blackouts, achieve deferred maintenance, including addressing the issue of vegetation management, among others ”, they added.
They insisted that “Luma will not only be responsible for improving the quality of service to all PREPA customers, but also for strategically investing recently announced funds from FEMA to rebuild and improve the resilience of the electricity grid. Previously, PREPA borrowed $ 9 billion to build a system that is now failing its customers. Consumers are not reaping the benefits of these loans, while having to pay the costs. The smart investment of $ 10 billion in FEMA reconstruction funds to rebuild and improve the grid will benefit Puerto Rico’s energy consumers. LUMA will apply its qualifications and experience to ensure that these funds are used effectively to achieve this. Any attempt to interfere with the LUMA contract by government parties – in the unlikely event that it is successful – can only maintain or worsen the status quo, and ultimately result in higher cost and lower reliability. “
Aspiring governors such as Carlos “Charlie” Delgado Altieri, Alexandra Lúgaro, Eliezer Molina and Juan Dalmau, among others, have said they would cancel the LUMA Energy contract as part of their campaign promises.