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Fiscal board certifies Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, water utility budgets

By on September 25, 2018

SAN JUAN – The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico announced Tuesday it certified a revised budget for the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB, formerly the Puerto Rico Energy Commission) of $7.6 million for fiscal year 2019.

“The presence of a strong, independent regulator is a key element for injecting confidence, stability and predictability into Puerto Rico’s energy market as it transitions towards a modern energy system. In fact, the certified Fiscal Plan for the Commonwealth underscores the importance of PREB as an independent regulator and highlights PREB’s role in the transformation of Puerto Rico’s energy sector. So the Board felt it appropriate to assign PREB the resources it will need to carry out its tasks,” the fiscal board’s executive director, Natalie Jaresko, said in a news release.

Among other things, PREB’s budget resolution calls for the agency to begin developing “an adequate organizational structure with a strong civil servant staff, considered a prerequisite for an independent professional regulator,” the board wrote in its release. The regulator’s budget includes $2.4 million for payroll and $5.2 million for non-personnel funds. No federal funds were made available for the entity, which is now under the Public Service Regulatory Board umbrella.

The fiscal panel also announced the certification of the revised fiscal 2019 budget for the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa), “to align with the August 1, 2018 certified Fiscal Plan for PRASA,” adding that it “complies with the aggregate revenue enhancement and cost savings initiatives laid out” in the utility’s fiscal plan.

The public utility’s senior and senior subordinated bondholder debt “versus their contractual amount” is of $230.8 million for the fiscal year, and is subject to debt-restructuring negotiations and available cash flow. However, $153.9 million is made available as creditors’ relief.

The budget for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) is still under consideration by the board, which said it “is expected to be certified soon.”

The board warned that any modification to an allocation in the budgets must be submitted for its “review and approval.”

The board has published the following related documents on its website:

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