Puerto Rico to sell off crippled power utility PREPA

Puerto Rico to Start Process of Privatizing Energy Company Prepa

Puerto Rico Moves To Privatize Its Troubled Power Company

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has yet to recover fully from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, which in late September knocked out power to the entire island, leaving all 3.4 million residents in the dark and killing dozens of people. It seems that legally FEMA must fix or replace the same electrical system that was destroyed.

The almost category 5 storm made landfall on September 20 and left the island's electrical grid in shambles - after more than 100 days, some residents still haven't had power restored.

Puerto Rico will move to privatize its electric company, the island's governor announced Monday.

The Climate Solutions Caucus is now composed of 33 Republican representatives and 33 Democrats.

Rossello laid out the sale of PREPA in a three-part plan that he said could take 18 months. Gov. Ricardo Rossello said the process would start with outlining the legal framework.

The deadline for PREPA, Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA) and the Commonwealth to submit their revised fiscal plans following Hurricane Maria's destruction is on Wednesday.

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Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz was more reserved, saying he would analyze the proposal and make sure that any changes guarantee an "adequate, efficient and affordable" electrical service for all Puerto Ricans. "That way we can end the frequent blackouts", Rossello said.

"We believe the American citizens that live in Puerto Rico would be better served by an electric utility run by a private operator with a proven track record, installed immediately, subject to existing PREC oversight and free from government interference", the group said in a statement, referring to the Puerto Rico Energy Commission.

"It's sad that they've waited so long to do this", said economist Gustavo Velez.

He also pledged to protect the utility's workers as the island struggles with an unemployment rate of 10 per cent.

It is estimated that 62 percent of customers in Puerto Rico now have electricity.

"The message is a manipulation of the justified hopelessness of an island facing a lack of power after the hurricane", he said. A spokesman for the utility did not respond to calls seeking for comment. Its power generation plants burn expensive and polluting oil and its infrastructure averages about 45 years old, compared to about 18 years for utilities on the US mainland, according to The Associated Press. "The public corporation has had a historically deficient administration that has maintained a virtual monopoly on power generation in Puerto Rico".

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