Puerto Rico Power Authority’s Debt Is Rooted in Free Electricity
AGUADILLA, P.R. — To understand how Puerto Rico’s power authority has piled up $9 billion in debt, one need only visit this bustling city on the northwest coast.
Twenty years ago, it was just another town with dwindling finances. Then, it went on a development spree, thanks to a generous —some might say ill-considered — gift from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
Today, Aguadilla has 19 city-owned restaurants and a city-owned hotel, a water park billed as biggest in the Caribbean, a minor-league baseball stadium bathed in floodlights and a waterfront studded with dancing fountains and glimmering streetlights.
Most striking is the ice-skating rink. Unusual in a region where the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees, the rink is complete with a disco ball and laser lights.