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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Hike in water bill could be seen later this year

Financial Oversight and Management Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico residents should expect a possible water rate hike in 2022 on top of electricity and toll road hikes.

The information is contained in a letter Financial Oversight and Management Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko sent to Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) Executive President Doriel Pagán Crespo last week.

The letter was in response to PRASA’s submission of the monthly budget-to-actual and implementation results for November 2021 as required under the 2021 Certified Fiscal Plan for PRASA.

Specifically, the oversight board highlighted the progress reported in the results with respect to the rate adjustment measure and reiterated “its significance to ensure adequate revenue levels over time and the delivery of reliable, affordable and safe water and wastewater services to the people of Puerto Rico.”

“The Oversight Board recognizes PRASA’s initial efforts in conducting a review of its current rate structure through a rate redesign and cost-of-service study as an initial step in the process of redesigning PRASA’s current rate structure,” the board said.

The process, the oversight board said, is expected to culminate with a series of public hearings conducted by an independent examiner, and with a final assessment with recommendations on whether rates should be modified and by how much.

PRASA was supposed to hold the hearings in November but was unable to do so because of setbacks in finding an independent examiner.

According to the Fiscal Plan, PRASA is expected to implement a potentially revised rate structure by July 1, but may not be able to meet the deadline because of the delay.

Therefore, the oversight board asked PRASA to submit a detailed timeline for the execution of the public hearings and final written assessment that are compliant with the targets established in the Fiscal Plan by Jan. 15.

Late last week it was announced that Puerto Rico residents will see a rate hike in their power bill from January to March after the Energy Bureau approved an increase of 3.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. In January, islanders are slated to see the hike in highway tolls that takes place every year.

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