The governor Pedro Pierluisi This Friday, he did not rule out that, in the future, federal and state funds will be used to subsidize the payment of electricity to small and medium-sized merchants, given the possibility of an increase under the Debt Adjustment Plan of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA). ).
“I do not rule out that, if a significant increase in light comes at some point, using federal or state (funds) at my disposal to mitigate it. It’s already been done, but I’m not going to get ahead of myself in the future because we still don’t know how much debt the Authority is going to pay, and we don’t know if the Bureau (of Puerto Rico Energy, NEPR) is going to raise the rate as a result of that.” , said the chief executive, at the annual convention of the United Retail Center.
Last week, the Fiscal Supervision Board (JSF) filed the new PREPA Debt Adjustment Plan (PDA-AEE), which appears to not have the support of several institutional bondholders, judging by judicial documents. .
“I recognize that the energy issue is a critical issue for most of our companies, so achieving the transformation and modernization of our electrical system is one of my highest priorities,” the governor said in his speech.
In passing, he urged the CUD to participate and express itself around the document, with a view to ensuring that the rate applicable to the commercial sector is “fair and reasonable.”
Pierluisi also defended that the company Genera PR – in charge of the generation system – was contracted to “achieve savings in the purchase of fuel, achieve greater operational efficiency and seize old and polluting generating plants that consume fossil fuel, as the “Renewable energy enters our system.” The savings Genera PR achieves should help reduce energy costs, according to its contract.
At the same time, the governor acknowledged that the Board has reached “agreements” with PREPA’s creditors to pay 20% of the debt. “If we had considered paying 80% years ago, now we are paying 20%. I have to recognize things, and that is a great achievement,” he said.
In addition, he reiterated that, at the end of the bankruptcy process, the person who will decide how much debt is paid is federal judge Laura Taylor Swain, in charge of cases under the Promesa law.
“Definitely, as happens in all bankruptcy processes, there will be an amount of debt that we will have to pay. So, what will happen when we already know the amount of the debt? That the Bureau is going to include that in the Authority’s annual budget. Again, the Energy Bureau will be the one to decide whether the electricity rate is reviewed,” he explained.
Pierluisi objected to the Board sharing the possible increase in the electricity rate because, he said, “that does not correspond” to the entity. He expressed his conviction that Judge Swain will entrust the matter to the NEPR, since the Promesa law requires compliance with local legislation.
The same way, He indicated that he does not rule out making contributions to the PREPA Retirement System so that it meets its obligations with the thousands of retirees of the public corporation.. “I do not rule out using federal or state funds to improve the fiscal condition of the Authority’s pension system,” he noted.
Addressing small and medium-sized businesses, he reviewed some of the strategies his administration has implemented to promote entrepreneurship, including the back-to-work incentive program, which was delivered with funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). ), as well as the allocation of federal funds to provide grants of up to $150,000, of which more than $160 million has been disbursed.
Likewise, he recognized incentives for solar energy for SMEs – such as microgrids and industrial-scale renewable energy projects – that will provide stability to the system and reduce fuel costs.