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WAPA Preparing for Tropical Storm Conditions

(Tuesday, August 21, 2012)

     The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority has activated its internal and external emergency plans in order to operate efficiently and safely while tropical storm conditions are present in the territory.  According to Executive Director, Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., WAPA is closely monitoring the weather system.  Under storm conditions, all employees are designated as essential and will report to work as scheduled to assist in the restoration of the electric and water systems in the event storm damage occurs. 

     WAPA’s Chief Operating Officer and Emergency Response Coordinator Gregory Rhymer has met with emergency response teams and determined the following status of readiness: WAPA has adequate fuel and water storage in the St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island and St. Croix districts; power plant personnel are currently securing generating equipment, water plants, fuel dock facilities, buildings and all other areas to minimize possible damage; line and engineering departments have designated damage assessment teams and restoration crews throughout the territory to immediately address problems in the field once the storm has passed; WAPA’s four  outside contracted restoration companies have been placed on  standby if their assistance is needed for high voltage work and other support services; local companies will also be on standby to provide support services; emergency radio and telephone systems have been checked and determined fully operational; and WAPA representatives will staff the emergency call centers to take calls from customers experiencing electricity and/or water service interruptions.  

        After the storm passes, St. Croix customers can call 773-2250 and press #7 or 773-0150 to report power or water problems. On St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island, reports can be made to 774-3552 and press #4 or to 774-1424. Customers should be prepared to give accurate information including clear directions to the home or business with the problem. 

        Customers are reminded that feeder listings and operational updates are always available at www.viwapa.vi.  Updates are also available by registering at www.vialert.gov,  by visiting WAPA’s facebook page, or by calling 340-773-2250 or 774-3552 and pressing #6 for a recorded message. Updates including boiling water advisories will also be aired on available V.I. radio stations. Feeder listings can be obtained in WAPA’s customer office lobbies. 

       Rhymer is cautioning the public to stay away from fallen lines; assume they are energized and report the problem immediately. Customers should locate and mark their potable water safety valve if it becomes necessary to turn off the water  due to a pipe break, and then report the damage to the emergency numbers.  Have adequate drinking water and food available and extra batteries for flashlights and radios.  Power customers should also secure weatherheads, which is the service point where the overhead electrical service on their building connects to the feeder wires.  

       WAPA will maintain services as long as possible and will not intentionally turn off power in.the event of a storm.  Rhymer said that the “three strike rule” will apply. If a feeder loses service, control operators will try three times to safely restore the feeder. If unsuccessful, the feeder will remain without service until the storm passes. 

 

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