The San Juan Daily Star
Senator rips governor for maintaining LUMA agreement
By The Star Staff
Sen. Ramón “Ramoncito” Ruiz Nieves urged Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Wednesday to initiate the necessary steps to cancel the LUMA Energy contract and establish a transition process to a new administrator of the island’s electric power transmission and distribution system.
“We are one month away from the completion date of the LUMA supplemental agreement, but Pierluisi remains obstinate in protecting this privatizer by pointing out that it would be irresponsible to cancel this contract,” Ruiz Nieves said. “The governor has been irresponsible in tolerating LUMA’s incompetence, not aggressively overseeing it, and not protecting the welfare of Puerto Ricans from this privatizer that is incapable of operating the energy grid efficiently.”
Ruiz also denounced the rate increases that “have hurt the consumer’s pocket and put at risk the economic development of our country.” “LUMA’s proven inability prompted President Biden to designate the secretary of Energy as the overseer of the $10 billion in FEMA funds allocated for the rehabilitation of the energy grid,” the Ponce District senator said. “[On Tuesday,] the Energy secretary, in her second visit to Puerto Rico, expressed her discomfort with the slow conversion of our energy grid to renewable sources.”
The Popular Democratic Party legislator noted that a recent journalistic investigation revealed that LUMA Energy’s incompetence has caused the death of hundreds of people due to Hurricane Fiona, since the absence of electricity did not allow these people to attend to their health conditions through the necessary therapies, the proper operation of ventilators and oxygen supply systems, dialysis, among other situations that led to those deaths.
“Governor Pierluisi cannot continue to protect LUMA,” said the chairman of the Senate Government Committee. “We are already a month away from the end of LUMA’s supplemental contract, and we must implement the necessary alternatives to replace this privatizer.”
Ruiz Nieves added that even worse, the Pierluisi administration has turned a blind eye to the claim that LUMA has unnecessarily charged over $600 million to its clients.
“Since July 1, 2021, LUMA Energy has requested five energy bill increases from the Energy Bureau in anticipation of the increase in the cost of fuel for power generation based on world oil prices,” he said. “But an analysis of the historical behavior of the oil price shows that the cost of this fossil fuel has remained 16% lower than the five increases in the energy bill authorized by the Energy Bureau. This situation shows that LUMA has charged its clients some $600 million in excess fees.”