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WAPA Board Approves Cleaning of St. Croix Waste Heat Boilers

(Tuesday, August 26, 2014)

In their monthly board meeting on Monday, August 25, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Governing Board approved a contract for the cleaning of waste heat boilers at the Estate Richmond Power Plant on St. Croix. The contract with Precision Ice-blast Corporation, at $389,980, provides specifically for cleaning of HSRGs 21 and 24 super heat tubes, and ice blasting the stack and outer walls of HSRG 21 as well as applying high temperature paint to the stack and walls. Once the units are cleaned, they will have improved efficiency.

The board also authorized an increase in a contract amount to VI Paving, Inc., to allow the contractor to build a temporary water bypass while completing work on a new water transmission manifold for customers in the Mon Bijou area. The temporary bypass, at a cost of $136,760.78, which includes a 10 inch C 900 and an additional two 16 inch magnetic flow meters, will allow the contractor to tie the new 24 inch manifold to the existing pump station without disrupting service to customers. The entire project will help to reduce line loss caused by aging pipeline in the existing infrastructure, and will increase the reliability of the Richmond Pump Station.

The Board also took the following action:
• Authorized the Executive Director to enter into a contract with Evertec Group LLC for $450,000 annually, to provide billing and mailing services to the Authority from July 2014 through June 2017. Outsourcing the Authority’s mailing and billing services provides a cost savings of 50,000 to $70,000.
• Approved a contract with Electric Supply of Tampa, Inc. for the supply of transmission and distribution line materials on consignment. The annual consignment purchase agreement, at a cost of $926,561, allows for large and frequently used materials to be readily available and onsite at the Authority’s facilities or in a secured facility in Tampa, but readily available to be sent to WAPA as needed. There is no cost for the materials stored, until they are used.

Monday’s WAPA Working for You! segment, introduced the board members to the Authority’s Safety Team who emphasized what safety means for the Authority. Safety Manager Gregory Magras, along with Christopher Brooks, Gerry Simon and Brian Douglas gave an informative presentation on “Accident Mitigation” and “The Cost of Workplace Injury.” Board Chair, Attorney Gerald Groner, applauded the safety team for the wealth of important information in their presentation. He noted that the WAPA Working for You! segment is always helpful, and introduces a new facet of the Authority each month.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., in his Executive Director’s Report, provided the board with updates on the Authority’s current projects. As noted by Director Hodge, the Mid-Island substation on St. Croix is merely days from completion, with the adjacent Estate Spanish Town solar farm to be completed by October. “This substation houses the first transmission circuit in the history of the Virgin Islands,” said Hodge, “with 100 percent underground connection from Richmond to Mid-Island.” He went on to note that the Estate Donoe solar farm will be completed by November, and the propane projects on both districts are moving forward nicely while garnering a lot of attention from other utilities wanting to venture into propane.

Hodge applauded the continuing outreach efforts of the Authority’s engineers who are regularly called upon, from other Caribbean islands, to speak about the projects at WAPA. “It’s important that we play a leadership role in the region,” Hodge stated, “that we take our experiences and share them throughout the region so we can benefit from each other’s experiences. Mostly,” he continued, “we must continue to maintain the lines of communication.” He noted that WAPA engineers are charting new territory, not only at the Authority, but as models for the region on how WAPA gets things done. He mentioned that the U.S. Department of Energy wants to use WAPA as an example for other regions.

Board members in attendance at Thursday’s meeting were Chairman, Attorney Gerald Groner, Vice Chair Juanita Young, Secretary Noel Loftus, Planning Committee Chair, VIEO Director Karl Knight, Cheryl Boynes-Jackson and Elizabeth Armstrong, Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Wayne Biggs and Donald Francois were excused.