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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Fontanés presents plans to monitor LUMA Energy

By The Star Staff

Public Private Partnership Authority (P3A) Director Fermín Fontanés said Thursday he will not resign his position as he made public the work plans used to monitor the performance of LUMA Energy, the private operator of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) transmission and distribution system.

An examination of the plans by the STAR, however, found that the document is a list of tasks assigned to each entity in charge of overseeing LUMA Energy to ensure its operations run smoothly. For instance, the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, the energy industry regulator, is in charge of approving a system remediation plan. The work plan does not contain criteria or a checklist to measure each performance metric.

The purpose of the work plans is to comply with the requirements of the regulatory framework and allow the P3A as administrator of the contract, with the assistance of PREPA and the Energy Bureau, to supervise the performance and compliance of PREPA and LUMA in accordance with the terms of the Operation and Maintenance agreement.

Fontanés explained that the work plans were being executed. The work plan for the 2020-2021 period that covered the transition period (Work Plan for T&D Front-End Transition) was approved and became effective on October 23, 2020; while the work plan for the 2021-2022 period (Work Plan for T&D Interim Period Services) became effective on June 1, 2021.

Regarding the work plan for 2022-2023, which entered into force on June 1, 2022, the executive director highlighted that “it is the same as the one for 2021-2022 already approved by the parties and is in execution. Although the draft plan for 2022-2023 has not received final approval, it continues to be executed as it is identical to the previous period. This, because we are still operating under the interim period, and the responsibilities and obligations of the different entities remain the same”.

The 2021-2022 work plan corresponding to the transition period includes the areas of: Operator Supervision; progress meetings; treatment of administrative expenses; access; demarcation; asset acquisition; system contracts and generation supply contracts; system remediation Plan; federal funds bidding manual; system operating principles; and others.

The work plan for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 for the interim period covers the areas of: responsibilities of the owner; operator monitoring; audits; contracts; System Remediation plan; capital improvements; Integrated Resource Plan; Tariff procedures; System Operating principles; Cost per service; Government approvals; Budgets; Performance metrics and review of notifications or reports.

Fontanés stressed that “there are detailed work plans, with specificity of the responsibilities and obligations of the different entities, with respect to the performance and compliance of LUMA. As I have always stated -and it is important that it be understood-, the supervision of this contract is shared, with specific roles and responsibilities for the different entities in charge. It is imperative that everyone does their part.”

Governor Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday he will avoid getting distracted by requests for the resignation of the Fontanés.

“Those are distractions. I’m not going to be distracted. Everyone must audit; that is everyone, the Energy Bureau, the Public-Private Partnerships Authority, Fortaleza itself, the Electric Power Authority, and mayors, we all have to audit and we are doing it”, Pierluisi Urrutia said.

On whether he is pleased with Fontanés performance, the governor replied: “it is not a matter of being pleased. He has a very big responsibility.”

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