González Colón says proposal on settling PREPA debt will help consumers, spur economy
By The Star Staff
New Progressive Party Vice President Jenniffer González Colón, issued her first proposal as a candidate for governor of Puerto Rico on Sunday, with a focus on the defense of the consumer’s pocket and the economic sector.
González Colón seeks to eliminate the increase in energy consumption billing, as a result of the restructuring of the debt of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). Her proposal is to settle the debt with the savings generated from the surpluses and that are being deposited in the government’s accounts.
In this way, she said, a new guaranteed bond issue would not be necessary thus a corresponding charge on the electricity bill for the next 40 years would be avoided. Likewise a more accessible energy cost would be maintained that does not affect competitiveness and an environment more conducive to economic development would be created, the resident commissioner said.
“The cost of electricity is one of the most nerve-wracking and challenging issues facing Puerto Rico,” González Colón said in a press release. “It directly impacts Puerto Rican households, affecting their pocketbooks and having the effect of impoverishing them more every day, and in turn is one of the most detrimental factors in the issue of economic development.”
The Puerto Rico government has more than $8.6 billion in the treasury from the collection of taxes, she noted.
“This is money that the people have already contributed,” González Colón said. “The Puerto Rico government is not and should not operate as a for-profit entity. This money has to be used specifically for services to the people or for purposes that benefit citizens.”
The resident commissioner pointed out that the high cost of energy is one of the most dissuasive factors in terms of investment and the cause of many bankruptcies of small businesses on the island that cannot cope with the burden it represents. Many companies that seek to establish themselves in Puerto Rico end up not doing so because of the high cost of energy and the continuous uncertainty of how much more it can increase, she said.