Capitol owes PREPA $2.5 million

By John McPhaul

Noriette Figueroa Meléndez, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) customer service director, confirmed Thursday in a radio interview that the Capitol Superintendency owes about $2.5 million for electricity service in recent years.

“The government debt with [PREPA] is close to $245 million,” Figueroa Meléndez added.

That overall debt is divided between public corporations, agencies and municipalities, the official said.

Residential, commercial or industrial customers who fall behind in paying their PREPA bills face a power cutoff after a couple of months. The story is different for government agencies; their electricity is not cut off.

“As public servants there is a commitment on our part to be able to [provide] the client with payment options, and we have been very flexible with many procedures,” Figueroa Meléndez said. “There is no doubt that we always have limitations and there is always room for us to improve and definitely to treat everyone in the same way and make our procedures efficient and put the authority in a better position.”

For his part, Speaker of the House, Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez confirmed that during the past four years no payment was made for water and electricity services, so payment plans were established to avoid suspension.

“To be clear, the formal administration of the Legislative Assembly by our delegation began on Monday (Jan. 11). Within the information that had transcended in the documentation provided by the transition documents, we had already identified that there were debts payable of $2,897,492.20 at the Electric Power Authority and $829,412.90 from the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority. (PRASA). More than a week ago we coordinated with some contacts and some meetings were coordinated for Tuesday,” Hernández Montañez said at a press conference.

“Our concern was the negative news ... that we started work in the Legislative Assembly and they [PREPA and PRASA] cut off the water and electricity [services]. That is not acceptable. “

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