Prepa Chairman Harry Rodríguez Steps Down
SAN JUAN – In order to make way for a new governing structure established by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) Revitalization Act, the public utility’s chairman, engineer Harry Rodríguez, announced Tuesday he would be vacating his seat.
The current vice chairman, economist Luis R. Benítez will continue as acting chairman.
The governor was supposed to appoint a new board by Sept. 1. With the resignation of Rodríguez, he may have to reveal the names of the six members of the new board, who should be confirmed in a special session.
Because of Prepa’s new depoliticization policy established by Chief Restructuring Officer Lisa Donahue, some of the new members of the board are expected to be individuals from outside Puerto Rico, sources told Caribbean Business.
Rodríguez was designated Prepa chairman in 2013. Since then, his priority, the Gov. Alejandro García Padilla says in a release, has been paving the way for the restructuring of the public utility’s debt as well as the its transformation operationally to make it “sustainable and viable.”
“Several months ago, I presented my resignation to Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, effective as of June 30, to make way for the designation of the new board members. However, as requested by the governor, I accepted to wait more time until the new appointments were announced. Today, family affairs force me to not wait no longer, which is why I have notified the governor about my departure from the [power] authority,” Rodríguez says in Prepa release.
The chemical engineer held off his retirement to become a public servant with the purpose of contributing to the island amid an unprecedented fiscal crisis.
In the public utility’s statement, Prepa Executive Director Javier Quintana Méndez thanked Rodríguez’s dedication and commitment during the past four years “of tireless work without financial remuneration.”
“Alongside the current board members, Harry faced the great challenge of establishing agreements with most of our primary creditors to achieve a moratorium on the debt’s payment; collaborated on the design of the Integrated Resource Plan and the implemented operational-improvements plan, which has generated savings that surpass $400 million. Harry was an important resource to achieve the approval of Prepa’s Revitalization Act,” he added.
Under his chairmanship, the statement adds, Rodríguez paved a new era of transparency at Prepa and its board’s processes, such as establishing a live transmission of the board’s monthly meeting, making the board visit various utility dependencies, such as powerplants, “to bring the board closer to the company’s real operations and its employees.”
Likewise, he developed the Occupational Safety Culture Program, which Prepa says has reduced the number of accidents considerably, as well as a practicing open-door policy for employees.