• The San Juan Daily Star

Supreme Court rules against LUMA Energy in information case

Puerto Rico Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodríguez

By John McPhaul

The Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled Tuesday against LUMA Energy in a case in which the private consortium that is operating the island’s electricity transmission and generation system tried to avoid providing information required by the House of Representatives, alleging that it is confidential and sensitive.

“Examined the second request for reconsideration, it is out of order,” reads the resolution. “Stick to what is resolved by this court.”

The request for reconsideration was resolved by Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodríguez, and associate justices Mildred Pabón Charneco, Edgardo Rivera García and Luis Estrella Martínez.

LUMA Energy filed the second reconsideration to the Supreme Court on Sept. 13 and argued that the island House of Representatives lacks active standing to request information from them.

LUMA Energy President & CEO Wayne Stensby said Tuesday that he will not comply with the order to provide information requested by the House, despite the fact that two motions to avoid that action were denied in the island’s top court.

“None of the appeal forums ordered LUMA to answer the challenged requirements,” Stensby said in a written statement. “The merits of LUMA’s objections will be elucidated when the case returns to Superior Court.”

“No company should be forced to reveal the identity and salaries of its employees, business secrets, sensitive information of the operation and infrastructure absent a legitimate legislative objective; furthermore, without complying with applicable laws and due process of law when requesting the information,” the LUMA CEO added. “The message this research sends is that if the reputation and mission of a company and its employees is to be destroyed for political gain, it will be. This is contrary to the interest of transforming the electrical system.”

Stensby means that the case -- Luis Raúl Torres Cruz v. LUMA, CC-2021-0521 -- will be returned to Superior Court, where he hopes LUMA will prevail.

“LUMA puts its employees first,” Stensby said. “The intimidation, harassment and even property damage to which LUMA employees have been subjected by groups opposed to a better electrical system are against the law. LUMA will have the opportunity to raise its defenses and objections when the case resumes before the Superior Court and is confident that justice will prevail.”

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