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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PIP proposes putting energy grid back in public hands

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. María de Lourdes Santiago Negrón and Rep. Denis Márquez Lebrón on Tuesday introduced a concurrent resolution proposing to put energy production in public hands with an adequate transition to the production of renewable energy.

The executive branch objected to the legislation, opting instead for greater oversight of private energy contractors.

The PIP measure would create a “Special Committee for the Recovery of the Energy System of the People of Puerto Rico” composed of 10 people, including professors from the University of Puerto Rico, professionals in public administration, economics and law, a member of a community organization dedicated to the adoption and implementation of renewable energy sources, and representation of the island energy system’s labor sector.

The committee would have the function of designing a plan to carry out a transition in one year toward a public and efficient model of energy generation, transmission and distribution that will include a new public corporation in charge of energy generation, transmission and distribution; study the consequences of canceling, terminating or terminating public-private contracts and the consequences of debt restructuring; recognize access to energy as an essential public service and human right; and envision access to energy as an indispensable mechanism for sustainable economic development in congruence with the preservation of the environment.

Santiago Negrón, the measure’s main proponent said the “recovery of our energy system has to be the great collective project of the Puerto Rican people.”

“Privatization holds hostage any possibility of economic development in our country,” she said. “It seems to us that at this moment the best contribution that the legislative assembly can make is to begin a dialogue with committed and trained people who can mark the road map so that, as a country, we can guarantee the human right that is energy.”

Márquez Lebrón added: “Our proposal for the creation of the Special Committee is the urgent action that the Legislature must take to begin the process of reversing the misguided and terrible decision to privatize our electrical system.”

“We also have the obligation to carry out the necessary actions to end the disastrous public policy that caused the serious situation that the country is experiencing,” he said. “We cannot forget that, during the past four years, from our legislative space and in the streets alongside the workers, we insistently denounced the leonine nature of the LUMA contract and warned about its inability to manage our electrical system. During this four-year period … we have also monitored and charged that the main objective of Genera is to buy gas from themselves, thus undermining the path that should lead the country to renewable energy.”

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