Executive Officer Testimony Details

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Executive Director Statement to Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection of the 30th Legislature of the V.I.

(Friday, February 22, 2013)

Prepared statement of Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., Executive Director/CEO V.I. Water & Power Authority to the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection of the 30th Legislature of the Virgin Islands.

OVERVIEW

"Let me start by saying that the Authority is very mindful of the hardship that is taking place in the community due to the high cost of electricity. We know that our electrical rate is extremely high and indeed at the present price of $50.8 cents per kWH for residential customers and $0.54 cents per kWH for commercial customers, the Authority’s rates are among the most expensive in the United States. While compared to other Caribbean islands, the Authority’s rates are slightly above the middle of the pack, we understand that this is no solace to the people of the Territory whose per capita income is among the lowest in the United States, and are struggling every day to make ends meet. The Authority’s efforts to find a sustainable and affordable source of energy to produce power to the residents of the Territory has been, to say the very least, an uphill battle. The global recession, coupled with our aging infrastructure, critical cash shortfall, deferred maintenance, a declining customer base, and high fuel prices all converge to put the Authority in the most challenging time in the history of its operation. I would like to take this brief opportunity to thank the hard and talented working employees of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority who each day diligently perform their duties and responsibilities to the best of their ability in these trying times. I also thank the Governor of the Virgin Islands and the Senate for their continued efforts to assist the Authority in its efforts to diversify its fuel portfolio, and a special thanks to the people of the Territory for their patience. There is still however much to do to address rising fuel prices, and the Authority is forging full steam ahead with a number of projects, which will commence at the end of this year, that we are confident will start the process towards significantly reducing the electric rates in the Territory."

> Download the full statement in PDF format


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