Critics like Torres also oppose the contract given the problems that arose after Puerto Rico’s power company privatized the transmission and distribution of electricity on the island nearly two years ago. He noted that the duration of power outages has since worsened, among other issues.
“Now we’re risking the same in generation,” he said.
By law, the power company’s board is not required to provide details about its meeting, nor a copy of the contract or the name of the company chosen. Board president Fernando Gil said only that the contract is for 10 years and can be revised in the fifth year.
The contract was previously approved by Puerto Rico’s Public-Private Partnerships Authority on Sunday in a unanimous vote, including by members who represent the public’s interest. It now goes to Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, who is expected to approve it.
Puerto Rico’s power grid has long been unstable given a lack of maintenance and investment, but it was crushed after Hurricane Maria hit the island as a Category 4 storm in 2017. Reconstruction efforts have just begun, with only emergency repairs made since the hurricane struck. The grid was further weakened when Hurricane Fiona, a Category 1 storm, barreled through the island’s southwest region in September, causing an island-wide blackout.