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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PDP rejects plan to pay PREPA bondholders with energy rate hikes

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González and Rep. José “Cheito” Rivera Madera expressed their opposition Thursday to the fact that customers of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) will be the ones to pay bondholders through increases in their electricity rates, according to discussions on PREPA’s debt adjustment plan.

“As a legislator and as president of the PDP, we reject the increase in the electricity rate that the PREPA bondholders intend to impose on us,” the lawmakers said in a written statement.

“Although we recognize that PREPA’s economic situation is delicate, imposing that burden on the people in Puerto Rico is not acceptable. It would be devastating for the Puerto Rican economy.”

They noted that the proposed plan would directly impact households and businesses in Puerto Rico, imposing an additional burden on the people, who already face various economic challenges month after month.

“The proposed increase in the [electricity] bills is not paying for pensions, as some say; that is a narrative that the government wants to impose to justify the payment of an unsecured debt,” Rivera Madera said. “There is no money in the sinking fund to pay the bonds and they want to take the money out of the pockets of Puerto Ricans. It’s abusive.”

In the statement, the lawmakers added that “Governor Pierluisi must evaluate which side he is on, whether it’s the side of the bondholders or the side of the people, and defend Puerto Rican consumers emphatically and without doubt.”

“The adjustments should not be for the most vulnerable link in the chain to make, but rather should be made from the administration, especially when we talk about unsecured debt,” they said. “The government must seek a fair and sustainable solution to minimize the impact on people or businesses.”

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