Thursday, February 21, 2019

Puerto Rico Energy legislation may go to conference committee

By on January 31, 2019

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Senate did not accept Thursday the amendments introduced by the House of Representatives to Senate Bill 1121, which would create the “Public Energy Policy of Puerto Rico Act.”

Among the changes by House lawmakers that were rejected are that the governor be who appoints the members of the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau and that the electric bill for individuals be capped at 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The Senate then petitioned the lower chamber to create a conference committee to reconcile their differences. lt would be composed of Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and Sens. Carlos Rodríguez Mateo and Juan Dalmau Ramírez, and the authors of Senate Bill 1121, Sens. Larry Seilhamer Rodríguez and Eduardo Bhatia Gautier.

The bill passed by the Senate on Nov. 6 proposed to establish the parameters to guide an energy system that is “resilient, reliable and robust, with fair and reasonable rates” for consumers. It would also be favorable to prosumers who produce energy and facilitate the interconnection of distributed generation and microgrids without taxing hydro, solar or wind power.

Among other things, it ordered the unbundling of the electrical system by Dec. 31, 2020,  and that by 2027, the generation of coal energy be eliminated and that only renewable energy sources be used by 2050.

“The monopoly is ending to make way for energy competition and fuel diversity,” Seilhamer Rodríguez, who chairs the Special Committee on Energy Affairs, said when the bill was passed by the Senate. The engineer warned that all powerplants will have “their process” of sale, respectively.

According to the proposal, no producer may own more than 50 percent of the island’s generation assets.

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