Regional News

Puerto Rico Water and Electricity Rates May Be Lower Than Expected

Puerto Rico's government is proposing lower rates for utilities that are rated junk or near junk, saying savings from fraud reduction, lower oil prices and other measures will make up for lost revenue.

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Comments (1)
We view persistent high unaccounted water (I believe it was approximately 60% at one point for PRASA) as the reddest of red flags for municipal water systems. Back in 2007, a deputy director of PRASA, who left in 2008, initiated a program to renew water meters, assure that all accounts were metered and that all water users were properly on the books. (Many were connected but anonymous freeloaders without accounts.) At our old firm, we were engaged by a manufacturer of automated metering reading (AMR) equipment to structure financing for a pilot AMR project in San Juan. Everything worked just great with the equipment and PRASA was in a position to render accurate and timely bills to accounts that were covered by the AMR equipment. But there was a problem. Accounts that were not used to seeing a correct (and higher) bill were no longer in a position to negotiate with the meter reader or get a bill that was negotiated because the meter reader just didn't come around or the meter was dead. So the program was stopped. The AMR contractor was not allowed to port the meter data into PRASA's computers and he was told to stand down. As recently as a year ago, the manufacturer attempted to arrange a demonstration of the AMR equipment, which is installed but barred from delivering data to billling computers to PRASA. He was turned down without an explanation. Good luck Mr. Padilla!
Posted by t3240m353 | Wednesday, June 05 2013 at 11:27AM ET
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