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IEEFA, Cambio sue Puerto Rico utility for info on privatization efforts

By on May 16, 2019

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Say ‘process is taking place behind closed doors’ and may threaten transition toward renewable energy sources

SAN JUAN – The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a U.S.-based clean energy think tank, and Cambio, a Puerto Rico-based environmental nonprofit, filed Thursday a mandamus action in the Court of First Instance in San Juan to obtain information about the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (Prepa) system and the ongoing privatization process.

The legal action is aimed at filling the gaps in information related to the privatization of Prepa, including any cost-benefit studies that have been conducted to justify the proposed transmission and distribution concession, as well as various new powerplant proposals.

“Very little information has been provided about the underlying studies or plans related to the government’s decision to privatize Prepa. We are determined to get answers to some of the pressing questions about Prepa’s structure in order to better inform the people of Puerto Rico about their future,” said civil engineer Ingrid M. Vila Biaggi, founder of Cambio, which is part of the Queremos Sol coalition.

“It is imperative that Puerto Rico move towards, not away from the transition to renewable energy,” she stressed.

The law that would privatize Prepa has allowed Puerto Rico’s government to not disclose much of the information regarding the companies vying to get a piece of the utility. In April, the government enacted public policy that included targets to use renewable energy sources exclusively by 2050.

“Much of the privatization process is taking place behind closed doors,” IEEFA energy analyst Cathy Kunkel said. “There are justified concerns that, under the privatization proposals being discussed, Puerto Rico will not be moving towards solar and other renewable options anytime soon.”

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