Puerto Rico Governor Announces Plan to Privatize Electric Utility

January 23, 2018

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló says he is moving to sell off the U.S. territory's public power company, as nearly a third of the island's electric customers remain without power four months after Hurricane Maria struck the island on Sept. 20.

Rosselló said Monday that it might take 18 months to privatize the insolvent Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, the largest U.S. public utility measured by the number of customers – 3.3 million.

"The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority does not work and cannot continue to operate like this," Rosselló said in a televised address. "With that PREPA, we cannot face the risks of living in an area of high vulnerability to catastrophic events."

Even before the hurricane, PREPA has had its problems. Its power generation plants burn expensive and polluting oil and its infrastructure averages about 45 years old, compared to about 18 years for utilities on the U.S. mainland, according to The Associated Press.

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