• The San Juan Daily Star

Governor rejects request by LUMA to keep figures hidden

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Tuesday rejected requests by LUMA Energy to keep under wraps information provided to the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB), the island’s energy regulator.

The governor said at a news conference that all the information that the PREB evaluates at the hearing on the request for a temporary rate hike must be public.

“I believe that there should be transparency and all the technical information that supports any increase should be available for review by the media and the general public,” Pierluisi said at a press conference.

The PREB has summoned LUMA Energy and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for a public hearing in which they must defend the requested rate increase of 16.4 percent. The PREB granted LUMA Energy’s request that the documents that in its opinion justify the increase be treated as confidential.

LUMA, which is the private operator of PREPA’s transmission and distribution system, argued that the calculations used to justify the increase have to be protected. LUMA also alleges that the documents contain sensitive information that belongs to the private consortium and/or PREPA.

“We are going to be ensuring that the Bureau fulfills its mission …,” the governor said.

Pierluisi insisted that the only justification for raising the electricity rate is that it can be proven that there was a price increase in the purchase of fuel or the purchase of energy.

“Here there can be no increases due to lack of efficiency, either from LUMA or from the Authority,” he said. “And every three months it is up to the Bureau to decide and it is only because of the two factors that I have just mentioned: cost per purchase of fuel, cost per purchase of energy; there is no room here for inefficiencies.”

The request for a rate increase made by LUMA Energy argues, among other factors, that there were economic losses as a consequence of the blackouts and power generation problems of recent months.

The PREB hearing will take place today and will be broadcast on social networks, as reported.

Meanwhile, the governor also said Tuesday that claims by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón -- which were reported Tuesday by the STAR -- to the effect that PREPA failed to submit certain documents to obtain federal funds, are incorrect.

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