(GFR Media)

The House will agree in tomorrow’s legislative session to the amendments made in the Senate to the bill for the concession and sale of the assets of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA), said Representative Víctor Parés Otero, who chairs the commission that examines the initiative.

Thus, it is expected that by the end of the week, the bill that would make PREPA´s privatization possible would be in Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares´ hands.

 "The Senate has already approved (PREPA´s privatization bill). Agreements have already been reached, and we are ready to approve the amendments mady by the Senate on Monday," said Parés Otero, chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development, Planning, Telecommunications, Public-Private Partnerships and Energy.

 The version will be different than the one submitted by La Fortaleza at the beginning of March. However, both Chambers had reached an understanding with the Executive branch on the amendments.

The bill, for example, limits the sale of assets to power generation plants. Meanwhile, all concessions, even those not related to the transmission and generation of energy, such as billing or measurement, will be made through Public Private Partnerships (P3), under Law 29-2009.

Also, contrary to the initial version, the Energy Commission will have an important role in the process of determining whether a company or a potential agreement for the sale or concession of any PREPA asset complies with the Puerto Rico’s energy public policy.

This public policy would be established by legislation following the recommendations of a special commission that includes the Senate, the House and the Executive Branch. If the Legislative Assembly fails to agree on public energy policy, then, Law 57-2014 provisions will prevail, explained Larry Seilhamer, chairman of the Special Committee on Energy Affairs.

This public energy policy would impose more general guidelines than those contained in the new Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) that PREPA is drafting and that should be approved by the Energy Commission.

"The IRP does not define the public policy on energy. It is an important document, but it does not define it. The Fiscal Plan demanded a new IRP from PREPA. If the IRP is already done when the process is completed, then we are going to incorporate it into the public energy policy," said Seilhamer.

 He also said that the subsequent legislation, that will establish the energy public policy, will define among other things, how to handle subsidies, micro-grids, the net measurement of renewable energy generation on an individual basis and renewable energy sources.

"The issue of people who want to leave the system, with distributed generation, will be addressed with a specific policy for microgrids. We want to pay special attention to this issue of grids, and we want the process to begin near the areas where health services, shelters, and isolated communities are located," said Seilhamer.

 "I hope all this allows us to accelerate the process. The island deserves this (privatization). The government said that the process should be completed in 18 months," noted Parés Otero.

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