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Gov’t drops plan to seek P3 for Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority

The Public-Private Partnership Authority announced it will no longer seek a private-sector partner to optimize the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority’s (PRASA) water consumption measurement system and the management of its commercial operation.

This comes more than three years after the P3 Authority published a Request for Qualifications in June 2018 to identify of qualified proponents for the job.

“At the time, PRASA was going through a precarious financial situation that made it impossible for it to access the funds necessary to carry out necessary capital improvements,” said P3 Authority Executive Director Fermín Fontanés said in a written statement.

“In addition, the impact of hurricanes Irma and María at the end of 2018 increased the need for PRASA to ensure collections and identify a possible investment from the private sector,” he said.

Since the RFQ was released, PRASA “has significantly improved” its fiscal condition, he said. That year, the agency received $14.2 million in post-María recovery funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and in mid-2019, the utility reached agreements with two federal agencies to restructure about $1 billion in debt, as News is my Business reported.

“Aside from gaining access to markets, the $3.7 billion allocation from FEMA has contributed to strengthening its liquidity,” said Fontanés. 

“In view of this, the P3 Authority carried out an analysis of the feasibility of the RFQ and it was determined that it will not be necessary to move ahead with the public-private alliance process for these purposes,” he said.

“PRASA now can defray the cost of purchasing and installing smart meters and related infrastructure with federal funds allocated by FEMA,” he said. “The P3 Authority is confident about the improvements to PRASA’s service that may soon be seen considering fiscal changes and access to federal funds.”

In related news, PRASA announced some $159,000 in completed infrastructure projects Puerto Rico’s eastern region, specifically in the towns of Las Piedras and San Lorenzo.

“We continue to pay attention to different sanitary sewer systems among the 20 towns that comprise our region, seeking to maximize investment and establishing priority in areas of need,” said Enrique Rosario-Agosto, director of the utility’s eastern region.

“Slowly but surely, we’ll impact several systems, either with rehabilitation, pipe replacement, establishing redundancy in the pump stations and new construction,” he said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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