• The Star Staff

Energy Bureau sets deadline for comments on PREPA demand response rules

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) Commissioner Ángel Rivera said Tuesday that all parties interested in commenting on demand response regulations that would help the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) prevent power outages to compensate for a lack of generating capacity during days of high demand, have until Aug. 2 to do so.

Over the past few months, Puerto Rico has endured numerous power outages, some of which have been caused by a reduction in energy capacity. The PREB began a process in September to evaluate demand response regulations.

The Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA), which groups most of the island’s manufacturers and service firms, has already proposed asking the bankrupt PREPA to grant a credit against future invoices to manufacturing companies that agree to temporarily disconnect themselves for a specified amount of time and use their own co-generating or emergency standby equipment so the power utility can better match the demand for power with the supply.

The information is contained in documents submitted to the PREB.

The credit consists of the cost of operating equipment plus a 10 percent incentive based on the client’s consumption. PREPA is currently in bankruptcy to restructure about $9 billion of debt. The economic impact of the proposed demand response incentive is not yet known.

“We propose a regulation that will offer a viable mechanism for PREPA to harvest such generating resources by granting industrial and commercial clients, who voluntarily decide to participate in the program, a credit against future invoices for electric power in exchange for temporarily disconnecting themselves from PREPA’s grid for specific periods of time as requested by PREPA,” reads the PRMA’s proposal, issued June 26.

The PREB had asked PREPA to discuss with industrial and commercial clients the possibility of enlisting their help in dealing with a shortage of energy reserves during the peak summer months. The energy utility was ordered by PREB to file by June 25 a list of high-capacity industrial and commercial clients and a report on their consumption as well as any document showing the energy utility has established a demand response program.

The need for a demand response initiative arose after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in January knocked out PREPA’s Costa Sur power plant, eliminating about 820 megawatts of capacity.

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