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'Nobody is above the law': Puerto Rico judge orders arrest of power company CEO

Wayne Stensby, CEO of LUMA is accused of not submitting documents sought by legislators. The company operates the island's power transmission and distribution.
Image: Wayne Stensby
CEO Wayne Stensby holds a press conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 11, 2021.Vanessa Serra Diaz / AP file

A judge in Puerto Rico has ordered the arrest of CEO of Luma Energy, the private company in charge of transmission and distribution of electricity on the island, after he was accused of not submitting documents with crucial operational information sought by legislators.

According to the order issued on Wednesday, Luma Energy CEO Wayne Stensby turned over most of the documents that the Puerto Rico House of Representatives demanded. But two requests remain pending.

Lawmakers in the U.S. territory had been seeking specific information from Luma Energy such as the number of experienced workers the company employs to fix damaged power lines, as well as compensation packages and titles of employees who earn more than $200,000 a year, among other data — hoping it could lead to answers that may point to why the power crisis in Puerto Rico is worsening amid electricity price hikes and unreliable service.

The efforts from lawmakers came after residents on the island started experiencing rolling blackouts, which worsened between August and September, since Luma Energy's contract to do transmission and distribution for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority went into effect in June.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, a public corporation, continues to be in charge of controlling power generation units.

Luma Energy had requested more time to turn over the documents, including receipts filed by employees, consultants and contractors and all communication between Stensby and any Puerto Rico government official, including text messages and emails.

“The truth is that (they) have had at a minimum 233 days or 5,592 hours to have copied all the information to the any digital format of their choice,” Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos of the Court of First Instance wrote in his order. “Unjustified delays cannot be sponsored or blessed by this Court. We consider them a mockery to our judicial system.”

The judge further wrote: “Nobody is above the Law. NOBODY.”

Luma Energy spokesperson Gloria Soltero did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

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