Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fiscal board meets with Puerto Rico water utility governing board

By on August 23, 2019

Members of the fiscal oversight board during its sixth public meeting on March 31. (Juan J. Rodríguez / CB)

Discuss Prepa’s transformation, contracting and transparency

SAN JUAN – The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico met with the Governing Board of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) on Friday to discuss what the former called a need for “a swift and transparent transformation process to ensure the lowest energy cost” and reliable electric service on the island.

The fiscal panel—which was established by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa) of 2016 to help the island “achieve fiscal responsibility and access to the capital markets”—said members of the two boards agreed on the importance of transparency in Prepa’s operations and to achieve long-term affordable energy rates. 

After the meeting, the fiscal board specifically mentioned addressing Prepa’s contracting practices and how they align with the Prepa’s certified fiscal plan, and “emphasized that all contracts need to go through a competitive bidding process, particularly following the recent extension of a fuel contract with Puma Energy,” according to the panel’s announcing press release, which added that the utility “did not follow a routine, transparent, and competitive process that promotes market competition,” for said contract. 

“The two boards had a very constructive meeting that included a frank exchange of views on various issues that impact PREPA and its transformation,” said fiscal board Chairman José Carrión. “We are in agreement about PREPA’s goals, its transformation process and on the need for improved contracting processes and transparency.” 

Natalie Jaresko, the executive director of the fiscal board said: “We are at the cusp of real change at PREPA, implementing the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, attracting a private operator, rebuilding a resilient grid, and lowering fuel costs by improving the fuel mix for energy generation. Working together, we can ensure the best possible results for PREPA’s customers.”