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ICSE requests RFP, contract to convert San Juan power plants be made public

By on December 5, 2018

SAN JUAN – The Institute of Competitiveness and Economic Sustainability (ICSE) of Puerto Rico filed a motion before the island’s Energy Bureau Wednesday, asking it to make public the request for proposals and contract the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) has awarded for the conversion of units 5 and 6 to use natural gas in the San Juan power complex.

ICSE said the regulator should be able to review the contract before modifying the integrated resource plan (ITP), or the blueprint for Puerto Rico’s future energy needs.

Prepa granted the contract for the units’ conversion and the supply of natural gas to NFEnergia in a process that was not made public but leaked.

The ICSE insisted with its legal recourse that there must be public participation and transparency within the processes. At a minimum, the bureau “should allow the participation of the intervenors already certified in the approval process of the current IRP,” it said. During that process, information classified as confidential by Prepa was properly handled.

The executive director of the ICSE, Tomás Torres, pointed out to information contained in an order issued by the regulator on Oct. 4, which states that on Aug. 14, the Energy Bureau “issued a Resolution and Order requiring PREPA to provide the Energy Bureau, on or before August 16, 2018, certain documents with respect to the Request for Proposal (“RFP”) issued by PREPA for the conversion of Units 5 and 6 of San Juan ( “Units 5 and 6″) to natural gas.”

In the order, the bureau declared that the utility did not inform it of its plans, did not provide the RFP, “nor did it offer any explanation for these actions, which do not comply with the Integrated Resources Plan or the Action Plan included in it.”

Torres indicated that Prepa provided the material requested by the bureau on Aug. 16. The materials included copies of the RFP, the contract form and certain photos, among other documents.

In this order, the bureau concluded that “taking into account the conditions of the electrical system after hurricanes Irma and María and the fundamental role of the electric service in the economic development of the island, it is reasonable for the Energy Bureau to exercise a certain degree of flexibility until the new Integrated Resources Plan is approved, in relation to certain initiatives that are beneficial, while simultaneously seeking its long-term sustainable development ”

On Nov. 21, the regulator allowed Prepa to continue with the RFP for units 5 and 6, and days later denied the ICSE’s request to participate in the process.

“As intervenors in favor of consumer interests, we helped validate the first IRP and we are asking the Bureau to reconsider its lamentable determination,” Torres said.

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