Quantcast

Puerto Rico Plans to Privatize PREPA as Critics Warn of 'Maximum Amount of Corruption and a Minimal Amount of Electricity'

Energy

Puerto Rico will take steps to privatize its troubled state-owned electric utility, officials announced Monday.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló said plans to sell the bankrupt Puerto Rican Power Authority, or PREPA, would move the island towards a "consumer-centered model" for power as well as help Puerto Rico attain its goal of 30 percent renewable energy.


The utility, which faced long-standing charges of corruption and severe mismanagement, came under harsh criticism for its handling of Hurricane Maria, including its decision to grant a $300 million contract to a little-known Montana energy firm. Nearly 30 percent of Puerto Rico's population remains without power four months after the hurricane hit the island.

Rosselló said it could take 18 months to privatize PREPA, the largest U.S. public utility measured by the number of customers—3.3 million, NPR reported.

"The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority does not work and cannot continue to operate like this," Rosselló said in a televised address. "With that PREPA, we cannot face the risks of living in an area of high vulnerability to catastrophic events."

As reported by Reuters:

"One analyst was skeptical of Rosselló's plan.

'He's got no energy plan, no financial analysis, if he thinks he's going to sell it off and the private sector is going to come in and invest, that is a recipe for Puerto Rico being raked over the coals by private interests,' said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance for the Cleveland, Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

'This will produce a maximum amount of corruption and a minimal amount of electricity,' said Sanzillo, whose organization has provided expert witnesses to PREC proceedings."

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz also criticized the privatization with a tweet in Spanish, translated as "The privatization of PREPA is to put the economic development of the country in private hands. The authority will serve other interests."

For a deeper dive:

Reuters, AP, ABC, Politico, NPR. CNBC, Fortune, Huffington Post, LA Times

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Scientists released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction, but it was largely ignored by the corporate news media. Danny Perez Photography / Flickr / CC

By Julia Conley

Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching, which means it's time to stock up on sunscreen to ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Not all sunscreens are created equally, however.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.

Read More Show Less
Flooding in Winfield, Missouri this month. Jonathan Rehg / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.

"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Reed Hoffmann / Getty Images

Violent tornadoes tore through Missouri Wednesday night, killing three and causing "extensive damage" to the state's capital of Jefferson City, The New York Times reported.

"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."

Read More Show Less