Grijalva Requests Updates on Puerto Rico’s Finances and Energy from New Oversight Board Executive Director

Washington, D.C. – Natural Resources Committee Ranking Democrat Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) sent a letter last week to welcome the newly appointed Executive Director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, Robert Mujica, Jr. The letter requests Mr. Mujica’s responses to several questions about the island’s finances and the recent privatization of Puerto Rico’s energy system.

The full letter is available here.

The Oversight Board is responsible for overseeing Puerto Rico’s public debt restructuring and will be terminated once the local government has adequate access to credit markets at reasonable interest rates and “balanced budgets” for four years. More than six years since being instated, however, it is unclear what goals have been met.

To provide more transparency in this process, Grijalva’s letter includes several questions for Mr. Mujica about how the Oversight Board intends to interpret and meet the criteria for a balanced budget. As the lawmaker points out, “The people of Puerto Rico and Congress deserve to better understand how these requirements will be satisfied and the progress that has been made to return control back into the hands of Puerto Rico’s elected government officials.”

In the letter, Grijalva also highlights the major role that the Oversight Board has played in the privatization of Puerto Rico’s energy system. The privatization process so far—namely the transition of Puerto Rico’s transmission and distribution system to private company LUMA Energy—has been significantly flawed: “The duration of outages continues to be worse under LUMA’s management than [Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority]’s. LUMA’s failure to hire sufficient numbers of lineworkers is at least a partial explanation for the poor performance.”

LUMA’s failures have raised serious concerns about privatizing Puerto Rico’s other energy operations. Noting these concerns, Grijalva’s letter requests Mr. Mujica’s insights on how the Oversight Board will implement lessons learned and measure success for new energy contracts.

Press Contact

Contact: Lindsay Gressard