The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) is a public-power utility whose core purpose is to enhance the economic development and the quality of life for people living in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the surrounding areas.
WAPA is an autonomous governmental instrumentality of the Government of the Virgin Islands that produces and distributes electricity and potable water to approximately 55,000 electrical customers and 13,000 potable water customers. WAPA also installs and maintains street lights in the territory. As a semi-autonomous government agency, WAPA, is considered a not-for profit public corporation that contributes directly to the Virgin Islands Government's budget through an annual payment in lieu of taxes to the Virgin Islands Treasury.
The Authority was created on August 13, 1964 by the Fifth Legislature of the Virgin Islands in Act 1248. The legislation creating WAPA has been amended several times. The enabling legislation was amended by Act 6488 on December 29, 2001 by adding the responsibility of installing and maintaining adequate street lights in the urban and rural residential sections to the utility. Prior to Act 6488, the Department of Public Works was responsible for street lights.
On June 24, 1987 the responsibility of distributing potable water was added to WAPA’s duties in Act 5265. This act expanded the scope of the utility's potable water duties to include not only production of desalinated water, but the distribution of the product through water lines and standpipes.
WAPA operates electrical generation and water desalination and reverse osmosis units on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. Electrical service is provided to St. John, Water Island and Hassel Island through submarine cables. On St. John, WAPA operates a diesel standby generator and a desalination unit.
Rates for electrical, potable water and street light services are regulated and set by the Public Services Commission.
To help its customers cope with fluctuating energy costs, WAPA has embarked on an aggressive customer education and conservation campaign to curb wasteful consumption, encouraging investment in high efficiency appliances, solar water heaters and Energy Star rated lighting. Recognized as an Energy Star Partner of the Year in 2008, the Authority is an active member of the prestigious Energy Star efficiency program created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy and partners with the Virgin Islands Energy Office to provide information and customer-focused services such as net metering. In 2009, WAPA was designated an EDIN (Energy Development in Island Nations) partner. EDIN is a collaborative effort among many public and private sector groups led by the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Interior, V.I. Water and Power Authority and the V.I. Energy Office. This partnership supports the U.S. Virgin Islands’ efforts to reduce fossil fuel usage in the electricity and transportation sectors 60% by 2025.
WAPA is a member of the American Public Power Association (APPA), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) and Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation (CARILEC).
The Authority is governed by a nine member board of public and private sector members. The Governor of the Virgin Islands selects the three public sector members of the Board from his Cabinet. Presently they are the Honorable Wayne Biggs, Commissioner of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, the Honorable Karl Knight, Director of the Energy Office and Chair of the Governing Board’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, and the Honorable Alicia Barnes, Commissioner of the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
The six private sector board members are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the V.I. Legislature for three year terms. Private sector members come from each district. The St. Croix district private sector members are: Gerald Groner, Esq., Chairperson, Noel Loftus, Secretary, and Elizabeth A. Armstrong. The St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island district private sector members are: Juanita R. Young, Vice-Chairperson and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, Donald Francois, P.E., and Cheryl Boynes-Jackson.
Entrusted into the hands of the Governing Board of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is the responsibility to provide the residents of the territory with reliable and affordable water and power for homes, businesses, and all institutions of government. Today, the Board’s challenge has broadened and its’ responsibility is even more urgent as the costs of doing business increase. WAPA continues to travel on a strategic path to bring reliable and affordable service to the utility’s customers. Incorporating alternative and renewable energy sources into its operations will bring WAPA into compliance with the global demand for social and economic growth while preserving the environment for future generations.
The day-to-day operations of the Authority are entrusted to Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., CPQ, Executive Director (CEO) and his management team.
One WAPA… One GOAL… Satisfied Customers