By IndyKids Staff

A sunny day in the mountains of Puerto Rico.

 

In late January this year, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced that he planned to sell the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to private companies. Even though PREPA is the largest public utility company in the US, serving 3.3 million people, the power grid is 45 years old and badly damaged.

While some see it as an opportunity to modernize the system, others fear that the company could be further mismanaged and fall into the wrong hands. It’s already $9 billion in debt.

Political leaders in Puerto Rico are interested in renewable energy, but they are worried that they can’t be truly energy independent without owning their own utilities. In a November 2018 interview with Democracy Now!, Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, head of a Puerto Rican electrical workers’ union called UTIER, responded to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, when he first suggested that he could help bring renewable energy to Puerto Rico: “We have to search for alternatives. But we are very clear: All the alternatives have to be owned by the community.”