By The Star Staff
House Energy Committee Chairman Jesús Hernández Arroyo met this week with various organizations and government agencies to look for alternatives that would allow for the development of the island’s hydroelectric plants.
The objective of the meeting was to come up with legislation to strengthen projects focused on hydroelectric plants.
“With this meeting, we seek to start a dialogue in which all sectors have the opportunity to express their ideas, proposals, and concerns and, from there, collect all the input to create well-focused legislation that meets the needs of each citizen. and all of Puerto Rico,’’ Hernández Arroyo said.
Attending the meeting were Maribel Hernández from the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña; Marena Navarro, a lawyer with the municipality of Villalba; Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz; Energy Bureau Chairman Edison Avilés Deliz; PREPA Governing Board Chairman Franciso Berríos; and Carlos Meléndez Zayas of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority (APPPR by its Spanish initials).
Navarro said they have been working to promote projects in favor of residents from the mountain region.
“We have been establishing numerous meetings and conversations to develop a Mountain Energy Consortium in favor of the towns of Orocovis, Barranquitas, Ciales, Morovis and Villalba,” she said. “We are aware of the challenges we have for the renewal of hydroelectric plants, and we are willing to continue working in favor of these projects.”
Colón Ortiz emphasized that PREPA, the island government and the federal government are investing over $3 billion in projects to rehabilitate and renew the infrastructure of hydroelectric plants. ‘’The projects [related to] these structures are ongoing and focused on placing them in the demands of these times,” he said. “Right now, we are doing our part to provide the energy and water service with the quality it deserves.”
Avilés Deliz said he favored any effort that promotes innovation of existing resources.
“We are here to direct the administration of these resources and look for alternatives in favor of these projects,” he said.
Berríos recognized the committee’s initiative to address the issue of hydroelectric plants.
“If any legislative action is formalized, it is an issue that must be considered as a public policy to be implemented,” he said.
Hernández Arroyo announced that they will be continuing to receive input to introduce legislation in favor of hydroelectric plants.
“This issue is very important and we will continue to give it the attention it requires,” he said. “There are many funds directed to these projects and it is time to act so that these services are available to all of Puerto Rico.”