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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Energy Bureau fines LUMA $25,000 a day for unauthorized budget tweaks

According to the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, the regulatory entity denied a Jan. 25 LUMA Energy motion and determined that the private operator of the island’s electric power transmission and distribution system has not demonstrated a good reason why it should not be fined.

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) on Wednesday fined LUMA Energy $25,150 per day for making changes to its budget without submitting due amendments.

According to the PREB, it denied a Jan. 25 LUMA motion and determined that LUMA has not demonstrated a good reason why it should not be fined. Consequently, the Energy Bureau imposed on LUMA the fine of $25,150 per day.

In turn, it ordered LUMA to pay the aforementioned fine to the Secretary of the Energy Bureau within 15 days of notification of the resolution and order.

The PREB reiterated that future requests for budget amendments must be received in a timely manner, when expenditures are expected to exceed the approved budget and, in all cases, before spending is incurred. If in the future, requests for modification of the LUMA budget are not submitted in a timely manner, more significant fines will be imposed.

In November 2022 LUMA filed with the PREB, which is a bureau of the Puerto Rico Public Utilities Regulatory Board, a document entitled Motion to Submit a Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Amendment. Through the Third Amendment Request, LUMA requested that the fiscal year 2022 budget be amended to reallocate a $21 million surplus in the LUMA operating budget to its non-federally funded capital budget lines.

LUMA indicated that this modification was the result of its cost-saving measures, year-end adjustments and financial reviews. LUMA stated that as a result of those savings in operating expenses, it was able to increase overall non-federally funded capital expenditure and advance work on various improvement programs. LUMA further indicated that the activities in its Second Request for Amendment remain unchanged. Finally, LUMA emphasized that the proposed modification did not result in an increase in base customer rates or an increase in LUMA aggregate expenses.

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