February 19, 2019

Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Reawakening: A Multifaceted Approach

Gustavo Bonet and Angélica Valderrama

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is the primary electricity provider in the archipelago of Puerto Rico.PREPA has been a vertically integrated monopoly for decades. As has been widely reported, PREPA is also saddled with a debt of approximately nine billion dollars. Before Hurricanes Irma and Maria, PREPA had declining sales and excess capacity—peak demand was at 3060 MW, while capacity stood at 5839 MW. Fossil fuels continued to supply 97–98 percent of its generation fleet, with imported fuel oil supplying the bulk of it, while 11 large-scale renewable projects ran through power purchase and operating agreements with PREPA. PREPA’s grid crumbled after the hurricanes, leaving many without power for months. This article reviews Puerto Rico’s efforts to rebuild the grid in the context of the long-term plan approved for PREPA before the hurricanes and identifies key issues informing those rebuilding efforts.

Premium Content For:
  • Current ABA Member
Join - Now