Puerto Rico considers privatization for island's generation
- A wide range of options is being considered to rebuild Puerto Rico's devastated electric grid, with island leadership in talks with several companies interested in managing its generation.
- Bloomberg reports that Puerto Rican officials want to use disaster relief funds not to repair the grid, but to rebuild it. A competitive bidding process would likely be used to select a partner.
- Puerto Rico has now contracted with three entities to bring electric service back online, most recently selecting Mammoth Energy Services of Oklahoma City to rebuild utility infrastructure.
Electric restoration in Puerto Rico is moving ahead on several fronts and with a range of companies interested in the efforts, but so far the impacts have been minimal. According to Caribbean Business News, the island's utility PREPA has yet to generate 20% of normal demand since Hurricane Maria hit.
Renewables companies are converging on the island, even as more traditional solutions are examined. According to Bloomberg, Tesla, Sonnen GmbH, Arensis Corp. and Sunnova Energy have all been in talks with Puerto Rico officials. Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy told the news outlet that a competitive bidding process would likely be used.
The island is considering a plan to privatize its generation, with PREPA continuing to own the transmission and distribution lines. Officials will not reveal what companies have shown an interest in that scenario.
Mammoth Energy Services subsidiary Cobra Acquisitions has signed a contract to aid in the restoration of utility infrastructure. The $200 million contract begins immediately.
Mammoth joins Whitefish, a small Montana company that was granted a $300 million contract to work on the island's grid. Caribbean Business also reports that a preliminary agreement with Power Secure wound up being contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the island's electricity network.
New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer has called on the federal government to tap a single individual to coordinate relief efforts. The recovery thus far has been “disorganized, slow-footed and mismanaged,” the senator said in a statement.
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