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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Energy regulator orders PREPA to turn $44 mil reimbursement into savings in customers’ power bills

The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau has ordered the island’s electric power authority to give customers a break in their energy bills after the utility reported a $44 million reimbursement for fuel expenditures.

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) in a resolution has ordered the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to give energy customers a $44 million cut in their utility bills.

The regulator also ordered LUMA Energy to make adjustments in certain factors, such as fuel, that are part of the bills. The adjustment will take effect in August and end in September, according to the order issued Wednesday.

The PREB earlier this week told the island Senate that it discovered that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had reimbursed PREPA in March some $44 million in fuel expenditures.

PREB officials said the bureau learned about the charge in a report delivered by the public corporation last week.

The officials anticipated that PREPA had to pass that money on to its subscribers, who are currently paying 33.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The remarks were made during a joint hearing of the Senate Strategic Projects & Energy and Government committees.

When asked by the STAR, Tomás Torres, the consumer representative on PREPA’s governing board, said the important thing was that the PREB spotted it.”

The money is part of FEMA’s contribution to fuel expenditures.

Later in the day, PREPA Executive Director Josué Colón, also deposing in the Senate, disputed the assertions made by PREB officials and said FEMA owes the utility $180 million.

The PREB recently approved the seventh consecutive increase in the electricity bill, which became effective from July 1 to Sept. 30.

The regulator indicated that the factors for the quarterly adjustment were the purchase of fuel, the purchase of energy and the fuel subsidy.

On June 15, LUMA requested a 17.1% increase for its residential customers for the third quarter of 2022.

The cost per kWh will be reviewed again on or before Oct. 1.

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