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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Regulator moves to fine LUMA, Genera PR & PREPA daily for failure to deliver a plan for dealing with outages



Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz

By The Star Staff


The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) announced late last week the imposition of daily fines of $25,000 on LUMA Energy, Genera PR and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for failing to deliver on time plans for improvements to the electrical system to mitigate recurring failures and eliminate weak points that affect the quality of service.


The plans were required in a June 13 resolution with a deadline of July 3.


“The constant blackouts recorded in recent weeks and days are causing significant suffering to the people, affecting their quality of life and daily activities. Clearly, it is urgent to identify and mitigate such failures to ensure a safe, reliable and efficient electricity supply,” PREB Chairman Edison Avilés Deliz said in a written statement. “The requests for extensions by the three companies, [coming] late in themselves, did not persuade the Bureau and betray their lack of urgency in addressing a critical problem for Puerto Rico.”


The PREB granted the two private operators and the public corporation until July 10 to show cause for why it should reconsider its decision.


In addition, the regulator clarified that the fines imposed on LUMA and Genera must be paid with the money received under their respective contracts and should not be considered as a cost attributable to consumers.


PREPA Executive Director Josué Colón Ortiz said the threat of fines was misapplied in the case of the public corporation he heads.


“Under the current legal system, the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau is in charge of implementing the regulatory framework of Puerto Rico’s energy system,” Colón Ortiz said in a written statement. “In turn, the Public-Private Partnerships Authority is in charge of the administration of the contracts signed with LUMA Energy and Genera PR, which manage and operate the transmission and distribution assets, and generation of the public corporation, respectively. Therefore, as expressed in the order issued by the Energy Bureau on June 13, 2024, and in compliance with their contractual responsibilities, it is up to both private operators to present the plans requested by the Energy Bureau for improvements to the energy system to mitigate recurring failures and eliminate weak points that may affect the quality of the electricity service.”


“The reality is that, with an approximate annual budget of $700 million, in the case of LUMA Energy, and $345 million, in the case of Genera PR, both entities have the budget, the resources and the contractual responsibility to attend to such an important request with the greatest urgency,” the PREPA chief continued. “The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, with a substantially smaller budget of just $47 million, and always looking out for the better well-being of the people of Puerto Rico, has in recent years presented multiple motions to the regulatory body with concrete projects to strengthen Puerto Rico’s energy system. Although we recognize the jurisdiction of the Energy Bureau in these matters, the reality is that the Electric Power Authority is not responsible for making the plans for improvements to the energy system that LUMA Energy and Genera PR are responsible for, nor is it up to PREPA to compel LUMA Energy and Genera PR to comply with the Energy Bureau’s requirement. For this reason, and although the Electric Power Authority will comply with the order issued today by the Energy Bureau, we believe that it is not appropriate to impose any fine against the public corporation for these reasons.”

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