Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Puerto Rico House Responds to LUMA Appeal By Defending Constitutional Authority

By on July 20, 2021

SAN JUAN — The Puerto Rico House of Representatives responded to LUMA Energy’s petition before the commonwealth’s Court of Appeals to not have to comply with an information request by a legislative committee investigating the company’s contract and operation. 

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Luis Raúl Torres, who chairs the House Economic Development, Planning, Telecommunications, Public-Private Partnerships and Energy Committee, responded to LUMA’s appeal after an order was issued by a lower court for the new Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority transmission and distribution and customer service concessionaire to provide information. 

The legislative inquiry is looking into internal communications between several parties involved in the 15-year multibillion-dollar public-private partnership. The lower chamber responded with a lengthy explanation of the Legislature’s constitutional authority to investigate the private consortium. 

“It is an illusion to think that by assuming control over the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) operations through a complex, competitive process, and by beginning its management with a number of public controversies … Luma would not have to render an account to the representatives that our citizens elected,” the response reads. 

The committee is asking the Court of Appeals to return the case to District Judge Anthony Cuevas’ court, where the information request had prevailed. The House asked Judge Cuevas to find LUMA in contempt of court but the company petitioned the Court of Appeals to intercede after the federal bankruptcy judge who oversees the proceedings of Puerto Rico’s public debt restructuring, rejected hearing the case.

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