BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Brownsville Public Utilities Board remains in possession of $29 million from the Tenaska Equity Fund three months after an audit was released for the failed $118 million power plant project.

People in the community have expressed on multiple occasions that they want to be reimbursed for the funds taken from BPUB customers for the failed project.

So why hasn’t the money been returned?

On Friday, BPUB announced it is working to determine its options to distribute the remaining funds, but first has to satisfy the terms of a bond ordinance.

BPUB stated that any distribution of the TEF requires BPUB to demonstrate that it “will not impair the reliability, efficiency or availability of utility service required to be delivered to the customers of the system,” according to the Special Covenants of BPUB Bond Ordinance 2022-1700 Section 33L.

BPUB stated it has begun moving forward with the following steps:

  • A designated financial officer will issue a certificate-attesting system that will generate sufficient revenues to cover debt service obligations.
  • Then the governing body will make a finding and determination in alignment with the proposed certificate
  • The BPUB Board will then recommend action based on a written certification from a nationally recognized consulting engineering firm.
  • Finally, rating agencies will provide letters to affirm the action will not result in a withdrawal or lowering of ratings.

During a Jan. 9 BPUB board meeting, Miguel Perez, BPUB’s chief financial officer, presented a preliminary timeline from January to late April, in which the board would work through that four-step process to satisfy the ordinance.