Measure to appoint consumer rep to Puerto Rico power utility board will expire soon
SAN JUAN – The period Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has to enact the measure that would allow a public representative to sit on the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (Prepa) board expires Friday, Dec. 15.
Prepa has gone without a representative of the public’s interest for 14 months, all while important contract decisions are being made to make capital improvements and several firms are ready to submit their concession proposals to run the utility’s transmission and distribution network.
All this after Rosselló signed Act 37 to reform Prepa’s governing board, whose members were dismissed, including Luis Santini Gaudier, Carlos Gallisá and Enid Monge, who had also been elected by public power company customers as their representatives.
Santini Gaudier and Gallisá represented residential customers, while Monge represented commercial and industrial clients.
If Senate 1100 bill is not signed, customers would have to wait six months to have their representative on the board, said Tomás Torres Placa, the executive director of the Puerto Rico
(ICSE-PR), and the person selected to be the consumer representative.
“The question that needs to be asked is why it has not been signed,” said Torres Placa, who has extensive experience in the energy sector and working on boards.
After Torres obtained all the endorsements needed to become the consumer representative in May, the governor signed a law to transfer the public-interest representative selection process from the Consumer Affairs Department (DACO by its Spanish acronym) to the Citizens’ Advocate Office.
However, Ombudswoman Iris Miriam Ruiz understood that the process under her agency had to be restarted because the law established it so.
“She understood that we had to make new regulations, everything new,” said Torres Placa, stressing the delay this entailed. “The truth is that it took her by surprise.”
The lawmakers then decided to pass legislation to return the selection process of Prepa’s consumer representative to DACO, and that is the measure that has yet to be signed.
“If he doesn’t sign it, it’s a pocket veto,” Torres Placa said.