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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Genera PR defends salary increases in public hearings

House Energy Committee Chairman Jesús Hernández Arroyo

By The Star Staff

Genera PR, the company contracted to operate the island’s electric power plants, defended on Monday the granting of “exorbitant” salary increases as the chairman of the Energy Committee in the island House of Representatives, Jesús Hernández Arroyo, questioned the conformity of the salaries with established standards.

“In the resolution issued by the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, on September 22, following the request for an increase in the labor budget by Genera PR, it stipulated that Genera PR has allocated more funds for personnel than the Bureau approved for that end,” Hernández Arroyo said during a public hearing at the Capitol. “And that is unacceptable, and can be considered reckless and in breach of the June 25 resolution with the Bureau. The resolution establishes that Genera PR did not provide data such as the salary reference points used to justify the salary levels reflected. Likewise, a review of the salaries and benefits that Genera PR is providing to its employees reveals exorbitant increases in salaries compared to their previous salaries at the Electric Power Authority. Genera PR has increased most salaries by 10 to 20 percent, but in other cases, salaries have increased by up to 200 percent. Additionally, in most cases, it makes an additional allocation for annual bonuses, some of up to $200,000.”

Katiushka Bolaños, Genera PR’s vice president of regulatory affairs, defended the salaries and insisted that the proposed budgets were in line with what was required. She said there was no non-compliance since the company began recruitment processes to operate efficiently starting July 1.

“We were not in non-compliance with what the Energy Bureau presented since it was precisely subject to a review that was requested,” Bolaños said. “An increase was not requested, what was requested was to restore what Genera PR requested for fiscal year 2024.”

Genera PR CEO Brannen McElmurray clarified that the proposed workforce budget is $79.5 million, similar to the previous fiscal year and within the established limits.

“We have focused on greater efficiency in hiring,” he said.

McElmurray also highlighted that Genera PR has 706 employees, compared to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s 1,036 previously. Additionally, he emphasized an average salary increase of some 15% for all Genera employees.

Hernández Arroyo questioned the lack of data and the salary justifications, highlighting a review that revealed significant salary increases.

The discussion of salaries and bonuses at Genera PR is part of a broader review of contractual agreements between the company and the Puerto Rico government.

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