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Lawsuit filed to fill consumer rep seat on Puerto Rico utility board

By on January 28, 2019

SAN JUAN – Tomás Torres Placa, the executive director of the Institute for Competitiveness and Economic Sustainability, has sued Puerto Rico’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) and the Citizens Advocate Office to compel them to certify him as the consumer representative on the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (Prepa) board.

Torres Placa said he complied with the legal process and became the only candidate for the position, but instead of certifying him as such, DACO Secretary Michael Pierluisi opened up a new process to select Prepa’s consumer representative.

The seat of the consumer representative on the utility’s board has been vacant for 14 months. Torres Placa, who is an engineer, filed his candidacy on Jan. 29, 2018.

“The process of selecting a candidate expired on August 31,” Torres Placa said in a statement.

“Mr. Torres was not only the only one who settled, but he meets each and every one of the requirements to be a candidate,” the document filed last week in San Juan Superior Court reads.

The public power corporation has been lacking a board representative acting in the public interest as the utility undergoes privatization as well as a bankruptcy process to restructure its $9 billion debt. The lawsuit added that since the candidacy period ended with Torres Placa as the only candidate, he must be certified under the law. He also accused the government of violating public policy.

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