Resident commissioner: Energy Bureau acting like a ‘rubber stamp’ for rate hikes
By The Star Staff
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón described the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau late last week as “a rubber stamp for increases” in energy rates.
“People cannot be at the mercy of a company that decides ‘I am going to increase electricity [rates]’ and the Energy Bureau comes and says ‘yes’ and that is it,” the resident commissioner said in response to questions from the press. “I believe that there was a much greater expectation from all of us that the Energy Bureau act as an independent entity to evaluate all of this type of thing and sometimes I think that it is a rubber stamp for increases and it is an obstacle for projects that would lower energy costs.”
“When you see that there are projects submitted by the Electric Power Authority to use renewable energy, to use natural gas or change technology, to lower costs, that is why they sit on it,” González Colón said. “Either they take time or they don’t approve them, which are things that affect the cost of energy and that would lower costs, for that it is a ‘no’. But for [rate] increases, it’s like a fast track.”
The resident commissioner said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia must create a committee with government and private sectors to ensure that LUMA Energy speeds up the process of rebuilding the energy network and new generation sources that have an impact on lowering the cost of energy generation on the island.
She pointed out that of the almost $11 billion in federal funds allocated to the energy issue, only between 10% and 15% have been disbursed.