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WAPA Board Elects Officers at Monthly Meeting

(Thursday, July 30, 2015)

Meeting on St. Thomas Thursday, the Governing Board of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority elected officers for a one-year term. All existing officers were nominated and elected to once again serve in their present positions. Elected to serve a third term as chairman was Attorney Gerald Groner, Esquire; Juanita Young as vice-chairman and Noel Loftus as board secretary. 

Board members also paid tribute to Donald Francois who has announced his retirement from the governing board. Members hailed Francois’ contributions to the board as well as the depth and breadth of his insight in the operations of the Authority. Francois, for whom the electrical substation in Long Bay on St. Thomas is named, was a lifelong engineer at the Authority and a mentor to countless.

In other action, the board approved various changes to the scope of work of a paving project at the Richmond Pump Station on St. Croix at no additional cost. The changes would allow water delivery trucks to traverse from the potable water stand pipe to the public access road without impacting the project or delaying sales activity at the stand pipe. The board approved a contract between the utility and Rotating Equipment Corporation to complete the installation of an eight-inch water line from the New Street tank to Strand Street Frederiksted. The line will allow the Authority to satisfy the water demands of cruise ships calling on St. Croix. The contract total is $477,577 and the work will be completed in 90 days. 

The board also approved both prorated and past due submerged land rental fees, to the Department of Planning & Natural Resources, for the years 2012-2014. The rental allows the Authority to occupy the submerged land parcels in Estate Penitentiary on St. Croix. Portions of the Richmond Power Plant occupy space on the land parcels. The payment total is $252,718.78. Also approved was payment in the amount of $297,490 with Crowley Logistics for the delivery of redesigned equipment, for heat recovery steam generator Unit # 21, from Texas to the Randolph Harley Power Plant on St. Thomas. The funding also provides full insurance coverage for the equipment during the transfer from the mainland to the power plant. Adding Unit # 21 to the power plant’s generation capacity will increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. 

The efficiency will be gained while Unit 21 operates in combined cycle. The cost reduction will be realized as the unit utilizes steam to generate electricity while reducing the volume of fuel oil use in electricity production.

Thursday’s “WAPA Working for You!” segment was presented by Mr. Jherome Dias, an electrical engineer in the Authority’s Pricing and Rates division. Mr. Dias’ presentation gave the board members a brief explanation of how his job is considered “The Bridge between Production/Transmission & Distribution and Finance”.

Dias indicated that one of the most important aspects of his job is staying in constant communication between finance and production. His position has several major roles. These include LEAC dispatch, which entails gaining information from production regarding which units will be in operation, the efficiency of the units, the fuel type to be used, etc. Dias uses this information to project the Authority’s rates for an 18 month period. His roles also include data analysis, which is producing the consumer friendly reports and rate infographics; as well as project correspondence which involves reporting whether the Authority’s finances were actually used for their intended purpose.

Board members in attendance at Thursday’s meeting included: Gerald Groner, Esquire, Noel Loftus, Director Marvin Pickering, Cheryl Boynes Jackson, Juanita Young, Donald Francois and Elizabeth Armstrong. Commissioner Gustav James was excused.

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