Puerto Rico utility debt restructuring will benefit bondholders, hurt ratepayers
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Puerto Rico utility debt restructuring will benefit bondholders, hurt ratepayers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享NBC News:Puerto Rico residents, who already pay almost twice as much for electricity as U.S. customers, are facing a 13 percent spike under an agreement government officials made to repay bondholders who own the debt of the island’s bankrupt power authority.The average residential household in Puerto Rico would start seeing an increase of approximately $11 per month by the summer of 2020, increasing costs to more than $130 a year, according to an analysis from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a nonprofit that conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment.“This deal doesn’t acknowledge the fundamental reality that the Puerto Rico economy is declining,” Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst at IEEFA, told NBC News. “I don’t understand how they expect people to pay for this.”These increased costs come as Puerto Rico continues to struggle to recover from the wallop Hurricane Maria delivered in 2017, resulting in the total collapse of the island’s power grid and the world’s second-longest blackout.Rates are expected to gradually increase this year until fiscal year 2043 if the island’s legislature and bankruptcy courts approve the deal by the end of June. In almost 25 years, Puerto Ricans would be paying almost $20 more a month than they pay now — up to about $220 more a year per household until bondholders are paid off.IEEFA analysts estimate that, under the new deal, Puerto Ricans will pay more than $23 billion over the next 48 years, plus an additional $100 million to $200 million to cover the deal’s administrative expenses. “This is a great deal for the consultants and the financial and legal counselors involved, not for Puerto Ricans,” Kunkel said.More: Puerto Ricans already pay high energy prices. They could go higher.