Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is prepared to
serve an entire island nation. The government-owned utility is the
sole electricity distributor for Puerto Rico, where it
serves more than 1.4 million residential and business
customers. PREPA owns five primarily fossil-fueled power plants
that, with private cogenerators and purchased power, give it
nearly 5,840 MW of generating capacity, and it has more than 33,000
miles of transmission and distribution lines. In order to provide
cheaper options for power production, the Puerto Rican government
has allowed independent power producers to build cogeneration
plants on the island to sell power to PREPA.
PREPA operates in seven regions. It has 33 customer service, 29
technical services, and 38 local offices across Puerto Rico.
PREPA's long-term challenges include declining energy
sales, high oil costs, and high customer rates, among other issues.
It is looking at revenue diversification options and is
increasing its activities to reduce energy theft as a way to cut
To cut costs PREPA is also exploring fuel diversification
strategies. To this end it is engaging independent power producers,
including fossil fuel plant operators, as well as wind farm and
solar power operators, in collaborative efforts. PREPA has an
agreement with Pattern Energy Group in which Pattern will supply
more than 25,000 homes on the island with wind-generated power. The
wind farm, completed in 2012, is the largest in Puerto Rico.
It is also building the Via Verde Pipeline to supply natural
gas from north to south Puerto Rico. Switching power plants
from expensive fuel oil to cheaper natural gas will save
PREPA money in the long-term, but the pipeline itself will
cost $74 million to complete. The overall infrastructure upgrade
will cost $450 million, including the conversion of oil-fired
power plants to natural gas.
In 2012 PREPA signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with
Western Wind Energy Corp. for 30 MW pf solar photovoltaic
Founded in 1941, PREPA is directed by a board of nine members,
seven appointed by the Governor, and two elected by and
representing clients. The utility operates 35 client service
offices and 29 technical services offices.