This week, LUMA, a company formed last year as a 50-50 joint venture between Canadian energy and infrastructure developer ATCO‘s $20 billion subsidiary Canadian Utilities and U.S. electrical infrastructure firm Quanta Services, announced that it has formally begun work on a 15-year contract to operate and modernize Puerto Rico’s electrical system.
The company was tapped by the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership (P3) Authority, following an 18-month competitive bidding process, to fortify and rebuild the island’s electric transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure, which suffered catastrophic damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Under terms of the P3 agreement, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) will continue to own the physical utility assets, while outsourcing the operation to LUMA.
“We promised Puerto Rico that we would be ready to assume operatorship and we are,” said LUMA President and CEO Wayne Stensby, in a formal announced this week. “After 11 months of building a company and its required systems, our team is energized by the opportunity to create a meaningful impact – both as an operator and as a neighbor.
PREPA, which is currently in bankruptcy, has been the electricity service provider for more than 1.5 million residents in Puerto Rico, with a network of over 30,000 kilometers of transmission and distribution lines.
“Undertaking this transformation is a big job with an even bigger benefit. LUMA will provide Puerto Ricans with something many of us take for granted: safe and reliable power,” said ATCO Chair and CEO Nancy Southern. “It’s also about creating a stable, resilient, and modernized electric system that will be a key driver of economic growth – allowing businesses in Puerto Rico to operate reliably, and contribute to the island’s economy, which in turn provides Puerto Ricans with meaningful employment.”
ATCO says its investment in LUMA is aligned with larger strategic plans to grow into essential services in the U.S. and Latin America. In recent years, ATCO has invested in Neltume, a Chilean port operator; developed power generation assets in in Mexico and Chile; and expanded its modular structure operations into Chile, Mexico and the United States.