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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

González Colón presents energy sector plank



Gubernatorial primary candidate Jenniffer González Colón said her proposal for the island’s energy sector is focused on building a system that attracts economic investment, allows lowering costs for small and midsize merchants, manufacturing and consumers, and eliminates the impact on the environment of obsolete or inefficient fuel plants. (Comité Jenniffer González Colón)

By The Star Staff


Gubernatorial primary candidate Jenniffer González Colón on Thursday presented her Action for Puerto Rico proposals for the energy sector.


She said the program is focused on building a system that attracts economic investment, allows lowering costs for small and midsize merchants, manufacturing and consumers, and eliminates the impact on the environment of obsolete or inefficient fuel plants.


“The government has to be part of the solution for the stability and security of the electrical grid, taking a more active role, contributing directly to reducing the load on the system and producing lower cost energy to reintegrate into the system and thus save money for the people,” González Colón said in a written statement.


The modernization of the electrical grid has been a priority for González Colón, the sitting resident commissioner and a New Progressive Party candidate for the governorship, as a congresswoman, she said, by securing the historic federal allocation to rebuild the entire electrical system, and supervising the disbursement and use of those funds as a candidate for governor.


“If the Financial Oversight and Management Board’s proposal materializes, residential customers will be impacted with over $20 more on their bill each month -- only with the Debt Adjustment Plan (PAD) charge,” González Colón said. “We must add the calculation of pensions and their division and allocation of payment sources. That is totally unacceptable to us. We come from several years with marked excesses in collections in the Treasury.”


She said her plan would promote a coherent energy policy to achieve better coordination and execution by the government components. She proposes conducting an audit and establishing an immediate implementation plan for all post-Maria federal allocations aimed at rebuilding the electric grid.


“The historic allocation of federal funds to rebuild the electric grid has had no tangible impact,” González Colón said. “The projects appear to be in very early stages, despite so many years having passed since the funds were allocated.”


Her plan calls for an end to the practice of hiring-related companies or subsidiaries that unnecessarily increase costs to the people.


Energy companies will be required, in order to enter into a contract with a related company, to prove that there is no company in Puerto Rico that can provide the services and that there is no other company at a national or global level that can offer services at a similar cost.


Under this guideline, for example, Centurion Group would not be paid $60 million for a vegetation management and maintenance contract with LUMA Energy, when that company needed to obtain the personnel to provide the services when it was awarded the contract, González Colón noted.


She also proposed strengthening the stability and security of the electrical grid, turning the government into an actor, instead of a spectator, in compliance with the Puerto Rico Energy Policy Law (Law 17-2019).


Law 16-2019, meanwhile, requires the integration of massive renewable energy into the energy grid. In addition to supporting the construction of large-scale green energy projects, as well as distributed generation projects, the island government has to be part of the solution, the gubernatorial hopeful said.


She also proposes seeking legislative action to make the necessary investments to strengthen the grid, and ensure a constant energy supply with a diversity of fuels during the energy transition.


“The use of natural gas in a transition to renewables is not an impediment to the development of renewables,” González Colón said. “Across the nation, this has not stopped the development of renewable energy on an industrial or residential scale.”

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