The San Juan Daily Star
Johnny Méndez rejects electric bill proposal
By John McPhaul
Minority Leader of the New Progressive Party in the House of Representatives, Carlos ‘Johnny’ Méndez, together with the representative for District #4 of San Juan, Víctor Parés, rejected the increase in the electric bill proposed by the Financial Oversight and Management Board.
The New Progressive Party leaders also called on the Board to urgently push for more renewable energy projects with the goal of increasing the current 6% share of electricity generation from renewable sources.
“We have been clear from the get-go and will continue to stand up for consumers’ pocketbooks. The proposed increases in electricity tariffs of up to 30% are too onerous for the citizen and deadly for small and medium-sized businesses. We reject this excessive increase and which will be detrimental to our people. As we did in the past, we oppose this sharp increase,” Mendez said.
According to the Debt Adjustment Plan of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) published on April 3 by the Board, a series of increases are detailed, which could reach up to 30% of the residential bill, as part of the agreements for the repayment of debt and payment of pensions.
“The answer is simple: no. We are not going to endorse any increase so high, it is too much. The effect this increase would have on our people in San Juan is devastating. A flat charge of $13.00 a month on the residential bill, which we know will end up in more, is a lot. We reject the increase, be it a fixed or evaluation one, you cannot get away with these things. You can’t increase electricity like that,” Parés said.
The former House speaker argued that the Board should promote, in an agile way, more renewable energy projects to increase the generation rate.
“Last four years we approved Law 17-2019 (Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Law) which establishes the goal of achieving that by 2025 40% of the energy produced in Puerto Rico is renewable, and by 2050 completely abandon the use of oil and coal, in order to lower the electricity bill. The creation of new projects is urgent, the Board has to promote them with urgency in the face of the reality we are living and the boom in the installation of renewable energy systems, “added the minority leader.
According to available data, in Puerto Rico there are about 70,000 structures with photovoltaic energy systems, with the installation of over 3,000 new systems every month.
“Today, electricity generation is based on oil, which serves to produce 47.4% of electricity in Puerto Rico, while 33% generated by gas, and about 16% by coal. Dependence on fossil fuels is prohibitive. Puerto Rico pays twice as much as the citizens of the states of the union for the same amount of energy,” said the Representative for San Juan.