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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor asks fiscal board for access to emergency reserve to mitigate fuel cost effects

By John McPhaul

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia requested on Thursday of the Financial Oversight and Management Board that the Puerto Rico government be allowed access to the State Emergency Reserve due to the extraordinary circumstances that have arisen due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces and as a result the increase in the cost of fuel.

“To mitigate the impact on our economy due to the increase in fuel costs, the government requests that the Board authorize the use of no less than $200 million from the Emergency Reserve for the purpose of subsidizing the cost of electricity and avoiding the need for significant increases that will negatively impact our population,” the governor said in the letter to the oversight.

In the letter, the governor states that the excessive increase in the cost of oil will have a significant impact on the economy of Puerto Rico. He maintains that as fuel costs increase, electricity cost rates are affected. As a consequence, the situation will produce a direct adverse effect on government finances and economic development, he said.

According to data provided by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the cost of oil could reach $300 million.

The governor said that if the government has a surplus of revenue at the accounting close of fiscal year 2022, the Emergency Reserve funds may be replenished.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Edan Rivera Rodríguez is maintaining a freeze on fuel profit margins in order to control prices. On Thursday the price of gasoline decreased between six and nine cents per liter.

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