SEPA CEO Julia Hamm: Transformation of Puerto Rico’s Power System Must Put Customers First

“The devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria has put Puerto Rico at the center of the national conversation about the transition underway in the electric power sector and its impact on the evolving role of the utility.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the announcement of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's plan to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), has released the following statement.

"The devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria has put Puerto Rico at the center of the national conversation about the transition underway in the electric power sector and its impact on the evolving role of the utility.
"No clear consensus exists on the ‘right' model and role for utilities in this fast-approaching future, as we discovered in our recent 51st State call to industry thought leaders for white papers on this topic. Whatever utility model is chosen for Puerto Rico, it must offer customer-centric options; promote efficient, reliable and resilient operations; clearly define utility and third-party roles; and ensure revenue for financial sustainability. And, most important, it must be an economic engine for the island.
"The public-private model proposed by Gov. Rosselló is not unique. In fact, a similar model -- with transmission and distribution operated under a ‘concession' contract -- works quite effectively for the Long Island Power Authority in New York.
"The challenge ahead will be adapting that broad model to the very different and unsettled energy landscape in Puerto Rico. A robust, well-managed stakeholder process will be essential to guarantee that all the issues surrounding the complex transition of the Puerto Rican energy system are adequately addressed so that all people of the island will benefit."
Both Julia Hamm and Tanuj Deora, SEPA Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, are available for interviews.


About the 51st State:
Since its inception in 2014, SEPA's 51st State Initiative has provided an open platform for envisioning the future of the U.S. energy system. More critically, the initiative is focused on developing practical tools and sharing information that can help industry stakeholders — utilities, regulators, technology firms and consumers — find the collaborative solutions for energy transformation that will benefit all. In 2016, the Keystone Policy Center honored the 51st State with its Leadership in Energy Award.

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