Figueroa Jaramillo: Luma Energy to schedule power increase by December
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
As the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is continuing its transition to private management, Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union (UTIER by its Spanish acronym) President Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo released a contract from Luma Energy that schedules a request for a Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) Rate Filing by December 2020.
Figueroa Jaramillo, both on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, published excerpts of the contract showing that Luma Energy is already taking administrative decisions over PREPA in requesting a power rate increase before the 15-year agreement commences.
Meanwhile, the union leader said Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced is “fooling you and will raise your power [bill].”
“There are three premises which they considered to privatize PREPA; one of them is free competition, where you could choose the company that fits your needs and your pockets, but this turned a public monopoly into a private monopoly,” Figueroa Jaramillo said. “Second, because there was no capital because the authority was bankrupt, they had to sell it, when that’s not true because the Authority itself will pay for a year of this transition. And third, for rate reduction, when you can see documents and annexes that set deadlines on a rate review. I shared what the contract said because the government will say that there’s nothing different here. The problem is not asking for a rate review, it is that it is already planned.”
The UTIER president said the decision, which has already been signed by the governor, could revoke the agreement because Luma Energy must wait for the approval of the RCA agreement from federal judge Laura Taylor Swain.
“We’re paying Luma $60 million for a year so they learn how the power system works; however, they can’t make choices like this until judge Laura Taylor Swain approves the shareholder’s payment agreement,” Figueroa Jaramillo said. “Once the judge accepts the RCA agreement, this could happen.”
According to a press release from the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, the contract establishes an estimated 12-month transition period before the 15-year contract starts in 2021.
“It’s important, and very interesting, that the authority completely delegated such power to Luma, the UTIER president said. “This is a contract that is harmful for Puerto Ricans. This is a contract where the Authority will cover all of Luma’s running costs, except the $125 million that we will pay to the executive board.”
Last week UTIER released an organizational chart that includes the names of PREPA and Luma Energy executives and the “juicy” hourly rates that will be paid during the transition, where the vice president will be making $325 per hour.
The PREB, meanwhile, announced a new reduction of approximately 0.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which places the kilowatt-hour price around 17.27 cents, one of the lowest rates in years in Puerto Rico, according to a press release.