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WAPA to Modify Disconnection Time for Delinquent Electrical Accounts

(Monday, June 20, 2016)

New Protocol Results from Continued Build Out of the Utility’s Automation Systems

 

In the ongoing effort by the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority to fully implement various components of its Automated Metering Infrastructure or AMI System, the Authority will modify the manner in which it disconnects delinquent electrical accounts. 

Beginning Tuesday, July 5th, delinquent accounts will be disconnected at 6:30 a.m. “The morning disconnects provide ample opportunity for customers to make payment arrangements during the Authority’s Business Office operating hours, to have their electrical service restored,” said WAPA’s Interim Executive Director Julio Rhymer, Sr. He noted that presently disconnection for delinquent accounts takes place at the end of the day which makes it more difficult for the customer to get their accounts cleared and service restored. Since disconnection dates vary by cycle and route, customers are urged to pay particular attention to all WAPA bills and disconnection notices, to avoid service interruptions, he added.

 In late 2014, WAPA deployed the AMI system in the St. Thomas/St. John district. The system’s communication equipment was installed, and AMI towers were erected and commissioned to begin relaying data collected from customer smart meters to the Authority’s facilities. The Authority began the initial build out of AMI on St. Croix in mid-2015 and are now 75% complete with the installation of smart meters and have received authorization to install the final tower needed for data relay.

 One component of the AMI system is the Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) program. The new smart meter has the ability to record the consumption data and communicate it directly to WAPA’s communication center. The AMR program advances WAPA’s ability to obtain billing information based on the recorded information from the smart meter, and allows customer service representatives to have access to real-time customer account information. 

Once fully implemented, the AMI system will serve to reduce meter tampering, quickly identify faults in the electrical transmission and distribution system, lay the communications ground work for a smart grid, offer quick access to consumption data, decrease operational costs, provide for more accurate billing, and reduce turnaround time for customers who are relocating. The system will also allow customers to better manage their consumption methods and costs by monitoring energy usage in their homes and businesses in real time through a web portal that will come on line in the months ahead. In order to take full advantage of the many initiatives that come with AMI as build-out continues, customers are encouraged to ensure their information is updated in the Authority’s system by calling or visiting the Customer Service Office.