Governor rejects measure to cap kilowatt-hour cost of electricity
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Monday rejected a measure that Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez intends to include in an extraordinary session slated to resume later this month that seeks to put a cap on the kilowatt-hour cost of electrical energy.
“To be fair, because I do not have these measures under my consideration because they are in the legislative process, so I have not seen the specific language, but it is impossible to establish a limit. That doesn’t make any sense,” the governor said at a press conference. “Seventy percent of the cost of energy in Puerto Rico is the cost of fuel. There is no way to put a cap on the cost of fuel when that is set by the market,” said Pierluisi Urrutia at a press conference.
“When we could only talk about a real cap, it would be when we have transformed the entire system and basically the purchase of energy is established or set by contracts that have a cap,” he added. “If one day we have the purchase of energy fully contracted with caps, then you can talk about having caps of 20 cents. I believe that where that figure comes from is that the [Financial Oversight and Management] Board in its Fiscal Plan at a given moment established as a goal that we have an energy cost that does not exceed 20 cents per kilowatt-hour. If, for example, the measure talks about it as a programmatic goal, I have no problem with establishing that goal. But if it says that it has to be that, without any type of language that gives it flexibility for when the markets soar, as has happened with this Ukraine thing, then I would say that it is not well thought out.”
Pierluisi added that such a measure must go through a public hearing process.