The San Juan Daily Star
Pierluisi says requests to cancel the LUMA Energy contract are trite
By The Star Staff
Governor Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia says the continuous requests to cancel the LUMA Energy contract is a hackneyed issue.
He spoke regarding a request from members of the Ecumenical and Interreligious Coalition. LUMA Energy took over the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system in 2021 following a one-year transition period. However, the public has expressed concern about the poor service. Most of the PREPA linemen with experience in the system are working for other agencies or have retired.
“Well, the matter is already trite. It has been said and repeated that the consequences of cancellation would be disastrous because it would delay the reconstruction we all want in our electrical system. On the other hand, it would also entail enormous costs for the government. You would then have LUMA at the exit for a minimum of one year without any motivation to improve the service, which is what we all want,” he said.
“I can understand, I respect democracy, and I can understand those who for some reason, are not satisfied with LUMA’s service. We all want the service to improve, but taking it to the extreme of canceling does not make any sense. The secretary of the United States Department of Energy warned us. She said we all need to monitor LUMA so that it improves,” he said.
The government, he said, must avoid anything that delays the reconstruction that the secretary of the Department of Energy of the United States is now coordinating at the federal level. “So that’s my reaction. I respect the expression, and I know why it occurs. Still, my decisions must be careful and aimed at benefiting everyone and looking for the best for everyone. That’s what I have to say,” the governor said at a press conference.
On Monday, Ecumenical and Interreligious Coalition spokespersons requested the cancellation of the consortium’s contract because they understand that “a private foreign company” should not manage the electric power transmission and distribution system.
“We join large sectors of our people that request the cancellation of this controversial contract. We understand that this contract should never have been granted due to the danger of a monopoly in private hands. In addition, we warn that the nature of the private company is the desire for profit contrary to public administration whose purpose must be the social aspect of the service”, expressed the religious group in a letter to governor Pierluisi Urrutia.
“Essential public services have to be in the hands of the government because the social dimension that created the government is totally different from what is a private company whose nature is the desire for profit. And I refuse to believe that the Electric Power Authority cannot be run by us Puerto Ricans. I am reluctant to believe that we do not have these resources. We have them and why not put our electrical system in the hands of our people...The truth is that I am confused and obviously I cannot understand”, added the Reverend Heriberto Martínez Rivera, general secretary of the group.
In the religious group opinion, the argument that canceling the LUMA contract represents hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties is not valid because “the loss of a life has no value