Brushstrokes of Our History

In 1915 the street lighting was launched in our capital city with the installation of eight spotlights and 600 incandescent lamps on the occasion of a royal visit to the Island

In 1893 the first system of private lighting was installed by Don José Ramón Figueroa in Villalba.   Since then, until the inauguration of the   Carite Power Plant 1 in 1915, all the electricity available in Puerto Rico was produced and distributed by private companies established in the most important urban centers of the Island. That same year, the public lighting in our capital city began with the installation of eight spotlights and 600 incandescent lamps on occasion of a royal visit to the Island. The "Sociedad Anónima de la Luz Eléctrica" offered this service in San Juan for several years.

Mayagüez was the second municipality to install 116 arc lamps for street lighting.

These small 120-volt generators were the first to be coupled to a hydraulic turbine for producing electricity in Puerto Rico. They were installed in 1897 by Casellas y Cía. in the town of Utuado to provide lighting service to the public square and some houses in the town.

In 1908, the South Coast Irrigation Service was created by law. They had the task of developing the systems to provide this area with the water necessary to achieve the maximum exploitation of its agricultural potential.

We owe this small agency the development of the public electricity service, which emerged as a byproduct of the development of the irrigation service.  

The Carite Hydroelectric Power Plant # 1  was built by the Irrigation Service of the South Coast to take advantage of the water fall from Lake Carite to the channels of the irrigation system of the area. This was the government's first hydroelectric power station.   In this way the production and distribution of electricity began on the Island.

Lake Carite was the first in a series of artificial lakes that were developed as part of the irrigation system of the southern coast.

The success achieved in the operation of the hydroelectric system of Carite motivated the construction of the Carite Power Plant #2, in 1922.

The development of public electricity systems required the creation of a new government agency. This should administer the irrigation systems, as well as operate and expand the electricity service facilities. For this purpose, in 1926 the Use of Fluvial Sources was created.

In 1929, the Toro Negro Hydroelectric Plant # 1 began operating with three generators of 1,440 kilowatts each. In 1937,  another 4.320KV generator was added. Also,  they  inaugurated the Central Toro Negro # 2 with 1,920KV.  

The construction of power plants required the development of a network of 38,000 volt lines to distribute the electricity  that was produced. At the beginning of the Toro Negro project, began the construction of a line from Villalba to Aguadilla with branches to Arecibo. Other lines were  built  from Ponce to Yauco, San Germán, Maricao and Mayagüez and from Carite to Cayey, Comerío and Monacillos.
1937, marked the beginning of a new stage in the development of the public  service  of electricity in Puerto Rico. In that year, the government began incorporating private electricity services into its system with the purchase of the Ponce Electric Company. It owned a steam central in Ponce to serve that city. It was the government's first Thermoelectric Power Plant.

In 1941, "Utilización"  concluded the construction of the Hydroelectric Power Plants  Garzas #1 and #2. By this time, the construction of the Lake Garzas between Adjuntas and Peñuelas was concluded and  Dos Bocas  between Utuado and Arecibo was under construction.

"Utilización" was able to accelerate the construction of electric power facilities with funds obtained from the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. This agency was created in 1935 to reduce unemployment and develop an economic rebuilding program on the Island. Up until 1941, the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration had invested $230 million in Puerto Rico.

In 1942, started to operate  the  Hydroelectric Power Station Dos Bocas  between Arecibo and Utuado.

Historia 2


The explosive growth in the demand for electric power imposed the creation of a new independent government agency. This agency should have enough freedom and flexibility to provide the necessary financing to expand the generation system and power lines. This is how the first public corporation of Puerto Rico was born,  THE AUTHORITY OF THE FLUVIAL SOURCES, created by virtue of Law Number 83, of May 2, 1941.

In 1945, at the end of the war, the Fluvial Sources Authority purchased the Puerto Rico Railway Light and Power Company and the Mayagüez Light Power and Ice Company. This was achieved with part of the proceeds from the first issue of public income bonds made by this corporation, under the visionary direction of Mr. Antonio Lucchetti. This way, the main electricity systems that operated on the Island were consolidated into a single company.  

The Sea Power   was a 30,000-kilowatt floating plant,  that was acquired  in 1946 to solve the problem of deficiency in generation  that occurred  as a consequence of the increasing demand for electric power. By that time it was evident that the exploitation of our hydroelectric  resources   had reached their maximum capacity.

The Sea Power  was installed from the dock in Puerto Nuevo to the then Monacillos substation, through one of the first lines of 115,000 volts built.

In 1946, the construction of the Monacillos Tower began. These facilities originally  were used  as offices of system operators  and  had  a 30,000 kilowatts substation. Gradually,these facilities  turned  into the brain of our electrical system. From here and through a sophisticated computerized system, the production and distribution of electric power throughout the Island is monitored and controlled.

In the mid-1940s, only 12% of our rural population had electricity. To correct this situation the  Authority  began in 1946-47 a vigorous program of rural electrification with funds  assigned   by the Legislature and the Agency itself.

From 1952,  the  Authority  signed a contract with the Rural Electrification Administration of the United States to obtain a loan that would allow  it  to take electric power to our countryside. A fundamental element to accelerate the construction of electricity lines in rural areas was the use of helicopters, an innovative idea that we owe to the engineer Julio Oms.  

In the 1950,  was inaugurated the Thermoelectric Power Plant of San Juan. This marked the beginning of large-scale electricity production in Puerto Rico based on the use of fuel.

During that decade was constructed the Palo Seco Thermoelectric Power Plant  in Cataño and the one in Costa Sur in Guayanilla.  

These large power plants  supplied  Puerto Rico the growing demand  which originated  due to the program of industrialization,  and provoked  the expansion of trade and urban centers.

In 1963, the Legislature of Puerto Rico approved a law that transferred and integrated the electrical system of the Municipality of Vieques to the  Fluvial Source Authority.

In 1963,  the  Fluvial Source Authority , installed a cable of 13,000 kilowatts and approximately 10 miles in length to interconnect the electrical systems of Vieques and Isla Grande: Puerto Rico.

In 1964,  the  Authority  made the first experiments   to diversify the energy sources of the Island, by putting the first  Experimental  Nuclear Power Plant in Latin America, the Bonus Central.

During the seventies,  the  Authority  experienced the last stage of expansion in its generating system. In the 1974,  the Aguirre Thermoelectric Power Plant was inaugurated. Then  started to operate  the units of  Combined Cycle  of Aguirre. At that time, petroleum and its derivatives were the energy source for the production of 98% of the electricity consumed by the Island and water sources only 2%.


On May 30, 1979, through Law no. 57, the Fluvial Sources Authority changed its name to the PUERTO RICO ELECTRIC POWER AUTHORITY. The change was due to the new circumstances, in which, already the fluvial sources did not constitute the main energetic source to supply electricity for Puerto Rico.

In 1981, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority acquired the electrical system owned by the Municipality of Cayey. In this way, the consolidation of all electrical systems in Puerto Rico under a single entity was completed.