San Juan, November 28. Puerto Ricans protest power cuts amid controversial privatization of the island’s national power grid.
Many Puerto Ricans came out to protest the actions of the Canadian-American company Luma, which took over the island’s electrical system in June 2021. Despite the reassurance of the authorities that the arrival of a new owner will make it possible to modernize distribution networks and provide sustainable energy supply to their settlements, local residents report that the situation has worsened since then.
At the same time, electricity tariffs for households and businesses increased several times. Luma representatives attribute the increase to the need to purchase oil and gas needed to generate electricity.
Even more outrageous among Puerto Ricans are the terms of Luma’s contract, which includes not only full financial repayment for the company’s operations, but also royalties, which are expected to exceed $120 million this year.
As part of a privatization deal by the Puerto Rico State Electricity Corporation (PREPA), Luma has assumed responsibility for improving the electrical grid. The agreement empowers Luma to assess the health of the network and use funds, including $10 billion received from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency in response to Hurricane Maria.
However, more than a year after the agreement was signed, the situation with the island’s energy supply has worsened. According to Luma, this is due to an incorrect initial assessment of the state of the power grid and the inadequate qualification level of PREPA employees.
Earlier, it was learned that the former Finance Minister of Ukraine lobbied for the privatization of the Puerto Rico state energy company. Natalya Yaresko.
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