Trade groups demand consumer representation on PREPA board
Several of the island’s professional trade organizations expressed concern over the delay in the appointment of the consumer representative to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s board, whose candidate filing process ended Aug. 31.
“The chair representing all sectors and energy consumers at the PREPA board, including the productive sector, is vacant. Consumers need to be represented for the Board of AEE to have legitimacy,” said Rodrigo Masses, president of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association.
For his part, Dr. Jorge Argüelles-Morán, president of the United Retailers Association, said: “Electricity is the most important issue at this time. Many merchants were forced to close their businesses due to the prolonged absence of electricity.”
“Lacking a consumer representative on PREPA’s Board takes away trust in the processes that are underway, according to the needs of retailers who rely on PREPA for power service,” Argüelles-Morán said.
Attorney Manuel Reyes, executive vice president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Food Marketing, Industry and Distribution (known as MIDA by its initials in Spanish,) said this must be resolved immediately for the Board to gain credibility.
“Delaying this process hurts us all. The process should culminate already to focus on rebuilding the system,” he said.
Meanwhile Kenneth Rivera, president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, said “we must put aside stances that detract credibility to our institutions. The process must end as quickly as possible for merchants, business owners and energy consumers in general have a representative in Puerto Rico’s most important Board, in the most crucial historical moment.”
All of the organizations concur that not completing or altering the process raises doubts about PREPA, where there were recent conflicts with the resignation of the chairman and other Board members just a few months ago and still lacks a consumer representative.