Businesses Reel Over Rate Increases
Prepa Chief Admits $200M Debt Uncollected; Short-Term Solutions Sought
Puerto Rico’s business sectorcame out against a proposal by the island’s power company to increase the per-kilowatt-hour rate to more than 30 cents, or 17 percent. At the same time, commonwealth agencies reportedly owe LUMA Energy, which provides customer service for the public utility, over $200 million in overdue payments that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) chief acknowledged could cover the requested rate hike.
Last week, LUMA Energy, on behalf of Prepa , requested approval of an electricity rate increase from the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) of 4.955 cents a kilowatt-hour (kWh), or a 17.1 percent rate hike, for the quarter beginning on July 1. This would increase the kWh from 29.04 cents to 33.99 cents. The new rate would be double the 17 cents per kWh in early 2020, when the cost of petroleum plunged due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
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