PREPA workers: Luma to pay juicy salaries to new executives
By The Star Staff
As part of the transition to private management, Luma Energy will bring 42 executives to Puerto Rico to help operate the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) transmission and distri- bution system (T&D) system, each of which will be paid “juicy salaries,” the main PREPA workers’ union charged Thursday.
The names and positions of the executives are contained in an organizational chart included in the contract between PREPA and Luma Energy that also details the executives’ hourly pay rates.
Annex V of the contract contains the hourly rates that will be paid for 12 positions as part of the transi- tion. The vice president will be making $325 per hour, the senior director $300 per hour, the director $275 per hour, a senior manager will make $210 per hour, a field crew leader $205 per hour, a trainer $200 per hour, a manager $200 per hour, a field technician $195 per hour, a senior analyst $160 per hour, an engineer/field supervisor $160 per hour, an analyst $125 per hour and administrative support personnel $50 per hour.
Luma Energy will manage not only T&D, but also administrative aspects such as customer service.
“Why was there no transparency? Why did no one know the Energy Bureau was evaluating this contract without public input?,” Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union (UTIER) President Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo asked.
LUMA, a consortium made up of Canadian firm ATCO and U.S.-based companies Quanta Services Inc. and IEM, the latter as a subcontractor, was awarded a $1.5 billion contract for 15 years that will allow the island’s power company to retain ownership of the T&D as part of a public-private partnership (P3), the third for Puerto Rico in recent years.
Figueroa Jaramillo questioned the reasons why Luma Energy was hired in the first place because while the government has been negotiating for 18 months, Luma Energy was incorporated in January of this year. “How can it have participated in a process that began 18 months ago?” the union leader asked.
On May 18, the Public-Private Partnership Author- ity, the entity that negotiated the contract, asked the Puerto Rico Energy Board (PREB) to approve a cer- tificate of compliance, but the record of the request was not made public until earlier this month. Tomás Torres, the consumer representative to PREPA’s board, charged that PREB President Edison Avilés was also a member of the committee that participated in contract transactions in a conflict of interest. Avilés could not be reached for comment.
UTIER, meanwhile, filed before PREB on June 24 a motion seeking reconsideration by the regulator of the aforementioned certificate of compliance.