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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

NPP lawmakers call for overhaul of P3A and PREB over lack of oversight of energy companies

The representatives alleged that Puerto Rico Energy Bureau nor the Public-Private Partnerships Authority (P3A) have audited the private operators Luma Energy and Genera Puerto Rico.

By The Star Staff

Representatives Víctor Parés, José ‘Cheito’ Hernandez, Eddie Cahrbonier, and Angel Morey denounced Sunday that neither the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau nor the Public-Private Partnerships Authority (P3A) have audited the private operators Luma Energy and Genera Puerto Rico.

P3A Director Fermin Fontanes left the island in the middle of the energy crisis that included an outage that left over 300,000 persons in the dark. The PREB last week called for a probe into the power outages.

Both entities did not take corrective action immediately; the legislators of the New Progressive Party advanced the filing of bills that will change the structure of both government agencies.

“No one listens to the Energy Bureau or the P3A express themselves about the constant and prolonged interruptions in electrical service during the past weeks. Both entities have become inconsistent in public discussion. Enough of the silence, if they cannot carry out their duties, then we will have to make changes, through legislation, to force them to carry out the supervisory work that they are supposed to do,” the lawmakers said.

“One of the inherent functions of the Energy Bureau is oversight. In its creation, under Act 57-2014, the Legislative Assembly made it clear that the Bureau must ‘oversee the quality and reliability of the electrical service of the Authority (Electric Power) and any other certified energy company in Puerto Rico’, so this is already part of his function. We call for implementing a more aggressive inspection program for Luma and Genera, which includes accurate and corroborable data and compliance metrics. If not, we are going to make changes,” they said.

“Among its duties, the Energy Bureau can implement standards and compliance metrics on them, so they can supervise these two contracts (Luma and Genera). The data collected must be available on the official website of the Bureau so that the People know first-hand what is happening. Our appeal to the Bureau is to request data such as how many transformers throughout the Island need to be replaced and the plan, with dates and information related to costs and disbursement of federal funds for recovery. The same has to happen with the substations and network support structures,” they said.

“We are evaluating legislation to force the Bureau and the P3A to hire expert personnel to supervise these agreements. The performance of these two agencies has been irresponsible and poor in the face of the reality that the People of Puerto Rico are experiencing with these blackouts and the lack of reliability of the electrical system seven years after Hurricane María,” they said.

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