LUMA proposes $547 million budget for T&D, $306 million for generation
By The Star Staff
The fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget prepared by LUMA Energy for the island’s energy regulator proposes a $547 million allocation to operate transmission and distribution (T&D) and $306 million as the budget for generation, the area managed by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).
The information is contained in an annual budget document that will be shown to the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) at a technical conference slated for Tuesday. On Aug. 25, the PREB issued a procedural schedule to examine the budget.
The proposed budget also comes days after PREPA’s executive director Josué Colón Ortiz acknowledged the poor condition of the utility’s generation fleet and criticized the PREB for failing to approve projects to fix the ailing systems.
LUMA said its proposed budget prioritizes safety, improves on customer satisfaction, remains focused on rebuilding the grid and lays the groundwork for a transformation to renewable energy.
The private operator of PREPA’s T&D system is forecasting energy sales for FY 2023 to reach 16,510 gigawatt-hours (Gwh). In 2025, the number is slated to go down to 16,212 GWh and in FY2025 to 15,222 GWh. Sales in 2017 were 17,268 Gwh.
While LUMA’s T&D operating budget is $547 million, the capital budget is $661 million, of which $581 million is federally funded. For FY 2024, LUMA predicted it may spend $1 billion in capital expenditures and $1.2 billion in FY 2025
The entity expects to spend $50 million in bankruptcy advisory costs.
LUMA said it is not requesting an increase in customer rates related to its operations.
LUMA’s budget for FY 2023 sets aside $246.5 million in salaries and wages, a number that is expected to increase to $250 million in FY 2024 and $254 million in FY 2025. The operator says it has 3,000 workers.
The discussion comes as Puerto Rico residents have repeatedly taken to the streets to protest against LUMA Energy over frequent blackouts and high energy costs that are becoming more burdensome.