Regulatory Board chairman declines comment on PREPA-LUMA contract

By John McPhaul

Sen. Ramón Ruiz Nieves said Thursday that during a public hearing of the Senate Government Committee, Edison Avilés Deliz, who chairs both the Public Service Regulatory Board (JRSP by its Spanish initials) and the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, declined to answer questions about the contract between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and LUMA Energy by order of the Government Ethics Office and the commonwealth Department of Justice.

“Attorney Avilés is raising an immunity before the Committee, from which he must be given that relevant space, but we publicly state that as soon as the reports from the Office of Management and Budget arrive, he can be cited again,” Ruiz Nieves said in a written statement.

“We have to sit down with him to discuss the advances concerning the legislation, the duties of the Board [JRSP] and everything that has to do with this framework in order to synthesize how cost-effective the reorganization plans have been and on the most important thing, the functions of the Energy Bureau, under this structure,” the senator added.

The Government Committee, chaired by Ruiz Nieves, is investigating the processes of island agencies, departments and dependencies to implement the reorganization plans ordered by Law 122-2017, and by Senate Resolution 25.

As stated in the legislation accompanying Resolution 25, it will be possible to know if the aforementioned plans have been effective and if agencies have reduced spending under the altered government structure, if functions have been consolidated, if the transfer of employees has been facilitated, if dependencies have been merged, and if services have been decentralized as proposed.

The Senate committee also seeks to investigate whether technology has been used to simplify processes and interconnect all public agencies and corporations through the Law 122 reorganizations and, more importantly, how the public employee workforce and their acquired rights have been treated, the senator said.

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