On the other side of Ponce de León Ave., across from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) headquarters in San Juan, Canadian executive Wayne Stensby sees the spray-painted messages against the company he runs: “Out with LUMA.” “No to privatization.”
The statements try to cover the posters that LUMA posted on an abandoned building in the Santurce neighborhood to counter its detractors: “Learn the facts.” “Know the truth.”
The company is running an aggressive advertising campaign in the media and on streets and avenues where PREPA employees flow. It won the contract to manage cables, poles, and the rest of the critical electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure in Puerto Rico
The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) discovered that while LUMA was competing to be picked, one of the companies in its consortium, Texas-based Quanta Services, lobbied before Congress and the Donald Trump White House on issues related to federal funds and power infrastructure repairs affected by Hurricanes Harvey and María, as well as to “PREPA”, as described in a general and imprecise manner in the reports to Congress. In 2019 and 2020, after the hurricanes that hit the Caribbean and the southeastern United States, Quanta Services made a strong lobbying bid before the federal government. The $120,000 it had invested in lobbyists in 2016, doubled to nearly $280,000 in 2019, according to congressional data compiled by Open Secrets. The CPI confronted Stensby with the fact that the request for proposals (RFP) to manage the power grid indicates that participants cannot lobby simultaneously on the same contract.