The San Juan Daily Star
PREPA chief: No job offer from incoming plant operator
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz
By THE STAR STAFF
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz said Thursday that Genera PR has not offered him a job.
Genera PR, a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy, became the private operator of PREPA’s legacy power plants under a 10-year contract and a fixed payment of $20 million. The contract includes up to $100 million in penalties and incentives for performance.
“I have not had any conversation in that direction to date […],” Colón Ortiz said in an interview with Radio Isla. “I continue working for Puerto Rico’s people from the executive director position in the Electric Power Authority and for the governor. What happens or doesn’t happen in the future, well, one should never be closed to any job opportunity that arises. Still, my focus and my work are that of executive director and, right now, on the transition that is taking place.”
Regarding the need to privatize energy, an essential service, Colón Ortiz stressed that the privatization process does not occur in a vacuum, but instead within the framework of compliance with laws that require the transformation of the electrical system.
“You must look at what was happening when those laws were approved. When those laws were approved, the Authority had just gone bankrupt […]. It had marked operational problems, blackouts,” he said. “Based on that reality, the legislators [under the administration of then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares] understood that it was necessary to modify how the Authority operated and how the energy system was composed.”
The PREPA chief acknowledged that the generation fleet and dams are being repaired. There is an open process to acquire 11 units to supply generation, among other projects, for which, he said, he continues firmly in his work. He said there had been good and not-so-good administrators at PREPA. From what he understands, that inconsistency has put the corporation where it is today.
Colón said that while there is a $34 million dispute between PREPA and New Fortress, Genera PR’s parent company, due to differences in compliance with clauses in the supply of natural gas, the contract is on solid ground.
“The contract is in good standing and is not in default,” he said.