Monday, October 14, 2019

IEEFA: PREPA tries to block delivery of public documents on privatization and the electrical system

By on June 4, 2019

After First District court agreement with CAMBIO and IEEFA, the corporation wants to walk back its commitment

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) tried to go back on the agreement it had reached with nonprofit organization CAMBIO and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) to deliver public documents related to the privatization of PREPA, as well as electrical system data, by June 7. Six days after making this commitment, PREPA filed a motion for dismissal of the agreement on May 30 in the Court of First Instance in San Juan. Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos “denied the motion at the moment.”

“PREPA is using public resources to deny citizens information that they have a right to know, which are the plans for the privatization and energy future of Puerto Rico. We had reached an agreement before the court and just a few days later, they want to reverse it, which is unacceptable,” said Ingrid M. Vila Biaggi, founder and president of CAMBIO.

On May 24, PREPA, CAMBIO and IEEFA had reached an agreement in the courtroom of Judge Cuevas Ramos of the Court of First Instance in San Juan. There the judge responded to a mandamus petition to demand delivery of public information regarding privatization and the electrical system, after CAMBIO and IEEFA had requested the information for months without success.

The judge ordered a negotiation between the parties, and PREPA’s attorneys agreed to produce by June 7 public documents related to privatization and the most recent electrical system data. A second hearing was scheduled for June 25, in order to inform Judge Cuevas Ramos on the result of the process of document delivery.

Acting counter to this agreement, PREPA presented on May 30 a motion for dismissal of the mandamus petition, as it had also attempted to do on May 23, one before the initial hearing. At the hearing, the judge had already indicated that, given the agreement between the parties, he would not address the motion for dismissal.

In response to PREPA’s renewed insistence on delaying the process of document production, Judge Cuevas Ramos said, “Denied the motion at the moment. Your [PREPA’s] position is not in accord with the agreements reached at the hearing. We clearly warned that, in view of said agreements, the motion for dismissal was suspended until after the conclusion of the schedule agreed to in court.”

“Now we have to wait to see what PREPA will do, if they reconsider and decide to provide documents this Friday as they had promised, or if they decide to delay with legal maneuvers, once again leaving the public without vital information on this public corporation,” commented Vila Biaggi.

Cathy Kunkel, IEEFA energy analyst, expressed regret that PREPA had returned to its position of attempting to deny citizens public documents. “It is necessary to have access to PREPA’s public documents in order to analyze whether the decisions they are taking are responsible and in accord with an energy policy that is in the best interests of Puerto Rican citizens,” said Kunkel.

In the mandamus petition presented to the court, CAMBIO and IEEFA requested from PREPA information on any cost-benefit studies that had been conducted to justify the proposed transmission and distribution system concession, as well as documents related to new generation proposals, among others.


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