Puerto Rico’s electrical utility has closed two power plants as it comes close to running out of money, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is in danger of having no money by early February, Rosselló said in a statement Monday evening. The utility is closing a combined cycle generating unit in Aguirre and a peaking generating unit in Cambalache to save fuel.
The governor said that the closings will not diminish the provision of electricity.
“The situation provides a red flag on the need for the public corporation to gain access, as soon as possible, to the loans that we have proposed and that would provide liquidity to continue its operations,” Rosselló said.
PREPA has $8.2 billion of bond debt, which is part of a total of $9 billion of debt. The authority is now in the Title III bankruptcy process of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act.
The Puerto Rico Oversight Board and the presidents of the Puerto Rico House and Senate have committed themselves to address this matter quickly in order to “avoid PREPA’s operational collapse,” Rosselló said.
On Dec. 5 Gerardo Portelo Franco, executive director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority, told the board that he expected PREPA to be short $229 million in cash by Dec. 29. At the time FAFAA was working on getting the federal government to release a Community Disaster Loan, stemming from the impact of Hurricane Maria.
In mid-January the United States Treasury Department told Rosselló it was allowing PREPA and Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, which also has liquidity problems, to apply for this loan.
At the early December meeting Portela Franco said there was a possibility that Puerto Rico’s central government would have to lend money to PREPA and PRASA. As of Jan. 12 Puerto Rico’s central government Treasury account had $1.6 billion.
Four months after Maria electrical service had been restored to 68% of the authority's customers as of Tuesday.