The Puerto Rico legislature has passed a bill authorizing the central government to loan money to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority to handle imminent cash shortfalls.

On Jan. 22 Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said that PREPA was in danger of running out of money by early February. This could cause a power outage across the island since PREPA is the sole electricity provider.

The Puerto Rico Capitol building.
The Puerto Rico legislature was worried about the possibility that Puerto Rico electricity would be turned off.

The Puerto Rico Senate first approved the measure. Then on Friday the Puerto Rico House approved it with 43 in voting in favor, four voting against, and four absent. The governor is expected to sign the measure.

The bill allows the central government to loan an amount it sees fit to each authority. As of Jan. 12 the Puerto Rico Treasury’s central bank account had $1.6 billion.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island on Sept. 20, the power authority is struggling to restore electrical service.

According to the government, as of Monday 69% of PREPA’s customers had electrical service.

As of February 2017 PREPA had $9 billion of debt and PRASA had $4.6 billion of debt.

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