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VIEO AND WAPA SAY “VIenergize Your Holidays!”

(Wednesday, November 24, 2010)

The holiday season is quickly approaching and the Virgin Islands Energy Office, (VIEO) the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA), and its Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) partners are urging you to "VIenergize (pronounced VY-energize) Your Holidays!" According to WAPA’s Executive Director, Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., and Bevan Smith, Energy Office Director, the EDIN-USVI initiatives, including the VIenergize campaign, are part of a movement towards energy sustainability and self-sufficiency in the V.I.

Hodge and Smith announced earlier this year that their two agencies have joined with the U.S Departments of Energy and the Interior, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to meet the territory’s goal of reducing fossil fuel usage by 60% in the electricity and transportation sectors by 2025. The VIenergize campaign, which officially launches the work of the EDIN-USVI Education and Outreach working group, is aimed at keeping the importance of energy conservation and efficiency at the forefront of the minds of V.I. residents of all ages. A cross section of the community--residents, workers, businesses, schools, churches, civic organizations, legislators, tourists, and others—are encouraged to work together for a true energy revolution in the territory, Smith and Hodge explained.

"Urging Virgin Islands residents to VIenergize for the holidays is a great way to continue our message," said Hodge. "They will enjoy the celebrations knowing they can save money while decorating their homes and businesses with energy-saving LED Christmas lights and using practical and proven tips for conserving energy during the holiday season." Smith agreed, saying, not only can residents save money, but they can also reduce the increases in carbon emissions that occur when more people are lighting up their homes, cooking big meals and driving to holiday festivities. "VIenergizing is the right thing to do for our environment," said Smith.

Virgin Islands residents are urged to VIenergize their holidays by doing the following:

  • Use mini-lights for home and tree decorating. They use up to 70 % less energy than the larger bulbs and last 65 percent longer. At present WAPA rates, it will cost about $64.80 to burn three strands of the traditional bulbs for 6 hours/day for 30 days and just $4.22 to burn 150 mini-lights for the same period.
  • L.E.D. holiday lights are even better. A 150-bulb set of light-emitting diode bulbs at 2 watts per set consumes 99% less energy than a typical bulb set and can last up to 200,000 hours. At today’s WAPA rates, the cost for a month’s usage at 6 hours a day will be only 76 cents!
  • Battery-operated holiday lights are also a very good energy saving idea.
  • Using timers to reliably turn off holiday lights when no one is around to enjoy them can further reduce energy costs. When retiring for the evening, reduce costs and increase safety by unplugging all lights at the wall outlet.
  • For outside lighting, install a motion sensor that turns lights on automatically when somebody walks up, and turns them off automatically after 1-5 minutes. Use mirrors or tinsel around indoor lights to heighten their effect.
  • Always purchase Energy Star labeled products for holiday decorating and for gift giving.
  • When doing holiday cooking use a microwave oven as often as possible. Microwave ovens use up to 75% less energy than conventional ovens. When using conventional ovens don’t open the door to peek at what’s cooking as it lowers the temperature inside, increases cooking time, and wastes energy. Keep refrigerators and freezers well stocked. A full refrigerator or freezer saves energy by reducing the recovery time when the door is opened. If the refrigerator or freezer are only partially full, store one gallon bottles of water to help keep the temperature regulated.
  • WAPA also encourages its customers to stay safe. Do not overload electrical circuits. Only use UL or FM labeled extension cords. Do not place outdoor lights near power lines. Never use electric lights on old metal artificial trees and keep all light strings out of the reach of small children. Repair or replace sockets, plugs, or cords that look defective.

In June 2010, the EDIN-USVI collaborative announced the formation of five integrated working groups focused on specific challenges: 1) Renewable Energy, 2) Energy Efficiency, 3) Transportation, 4) Education and Workforce Development, and 5) Policy. Members of each working group represent a broad cross-section of the public and private sectors and meet regularly to discuss and take action on initiatives to meet the mandated goal of reducing fossil fuel usage in the territory by 60% by the year 2025.

To find out more about the EDIN-USVI energy revolution and how you can be part of the solution, visit,

Cassandra Dunn