Author Archive: Cathy Kunkel

Energy Analyst Cathy Kunkel is an independent consultant with Kunkel Energy Research. She has testified before regulatory bodies and was a senior research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She has undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics.

IEEFA update: New debt deal throws Puerto Rico under the bus

A reckless proposal to benefit creditors while sapping the economy

In a deal it announced this week between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and some of its creditors, the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board, PREPA and the bondholders are only kicking the can down the road. The agreement means that businesses and households across Puerto Rico will be hit with a 10% increase […]

IEEFA update: An influential congressman impedes Puerto Rico’s recovery

Rep. Rob Bishop is interfering at the behest of oil and gas interests

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has abandoned the sound fiscal stewardship that once made him a leader on fiscal solvency and responsible economic recovery for Puerto Rico. Instead, Bishop has succumbed to the special-interest quagmire in Washington and is now actively promoting unsustainable policies for the battered U.S. commonwealth. […]

IEEFA update: PREPA privatization law invites more contracting scandals

The door is wide open for conflicts of interest and political hires; New law will not lead to much-needed transformation of energy generation mix

The law that Puerto Rico enacted last month to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has many flaws, including labor protections that are too weak, an unnecessary restructuring of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission and a lack of commitment to strong energy planning. And it is likely to lead to more contracting scandals […]

IEEFA op-ed: Latest Puerto Rico utility privatization plan is as flawed as the original

In its version of a bill to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the Puerto Rico legislature has improved some on Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s original proposal, but lawmakers are ultimately failing the Puerto Rican people every bit as badly as Rosselló has. We’ve criticized the governor’s original privatization proposal for essentially aiming to set […]

IEEFA Op-Ed: Little Chance New Fiscal Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico’s Electric Company Will Succeed

A Weak Economy With Less Demand for Power Is Among the Many Risks

Customers of Puerto Rico’s bankrupt electric utility cannot afford to pay back the utility’s creditors over the next five years without jeopardizing much-needed investment in the rebuilding and resiliency of the island’s power grid. Nor can the utility continue to pay fossil fuel producers exorbitant amounts for oil, coal and gas. Those are the two […]

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Proposed Offshore Gas-Import Project Makes Less and Less Sense

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Proposed Offshore Gas-Import Project Makes Less and Less Sense

Little Rationale for a Port Complex That Would Support the Status Quo

In shelving its review of the economic viability of a proposed natural gas import complex off the south coast of the island, the Puerto Rico Energy Commission last week took a policy step in the right direction. The Aguirre Offshore Gas Port (AOGP) would bring additional liquefied natural gas into the commonwealth for electricity generation, […]

IEEFA Op-Ed: Now Is Not the Time to Roll Back Oversight of Puerto Rico’s Power Company

A Looming Threat to Independent Regulatory Oversight

Members of Congress have rightly expressed concern over Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s incessant campaign to steamroll the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, the progressive regulatory body that is seeking responsible modernization of the island’s backward electricity system. Just last week, the Puerto Rico Senate approved a bill that contains the governor’s most recent plan to […]

March 21, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Op-Ed: Keeping Puerto Rico’s Electric Utility on a Short Leash Until It Proves Accountability

The Governor Should Step Aside Now and Let Proper Regulation Take Its Course

Power outages that swept the capital of San Juan last week serve as a sobering reminder of what Puerto Rico is up against as it struggles to rebuild its battered electricity grid. Almost 1 million people live in the area affected by the blackout, which is just the latest symptom of an electricity system in […]

IEEFA Update: Status-Quo Politics Imperil Public Confidence in Puerto Rico Grid Rebuild

Ill-Advised Efforts to Undermine Island's Key Electricity-Reform Regulator

While the reform-minded Puerto Rico Energy Commission has survived its latest assault by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, the governor still seems bent on the commission’s destruction. Earlier this month, Rosselló sought to consolidate the energy commission with four other regulatory agencies and eliminate its independence by having all members serve strictly at his pleasure. Puerto Rico […]

and February 28, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Failed Coal-Plant Deal in West Virginia Is in Ratepayers’ Best Interest

IEEFA Update: Failed Coal-Plant Deal in West Virginia Is in Ratepayers’ Best Interest

Negligence on the Part of FirstEnergy and the State to Encourage Responsible Transition

As FirstEnergy prepares to either sell the Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia or deactivate it, the question now becomes whether the company and the state will come up with a good plan to help the local community through this transition. FirstEnergy’s decision on Pleasants comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected its proposal […]

February 22, 2018 Read More →