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Board Approves Additional Funding for Electrical Base Rate Case; Extends fuel oil supply contract

(Wednesday, May 31, 2017)

May 30, 2017

The governing board of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority on Tuesday approved additional funding to PRMG, consultants on the ongoing electric system rate case filing. WAPA Chief Executive Officer Julio A. Rhymer, Sr. told board members that an additional $60,000 is needed to finalize the rate case with a target implementation date of July 1, 2017. The rate case has been pending since 2015, and finalization is dependent on approval by the V.I. Public Services Commission. WAPA is expected to spend about $255,000 on its overall contract with PRMG for work on the electric system rate case.

            Approval was also given to a second extension of the fuel oil purchase contract with Glencore, Ltd. for a period not to exceed six months, with an additional six-month extension. Rhymer explained that the current contract with Glencore ends on June 30, and although WAPA has gone out for bid for a fuel oil supplier, additional time is required to complete the procurement process and negotiate a new agreement.

            In other action, the board approved:

  • An adjustment in the cost of security guard services at WAPA’s facilities to factor in anticipated increases in the minimum wage. The adjustment increases the security contract to $770,737. Funding was also provided to cover the presence of security at a secondary access point to the Randolph Harley Power Plant on St. Thomas.


  • The purchase of automated switches and controls for the electrical transmission and distribution systems in both districts.


  • An extension of a contract with Risked Revenue Energy Associates for the implementation and maintenance of WAPA’s fuel hedge program, which runs through 2019. WAPA has realized about $5.7 million from the fuel hedge program.


  • The purchase of two-way radios for the Authority’s personnel to replace almost non-functional handheld, base and mobile radios. The current radios and supporting systems are no longer compatible with a mission critical communication operating system, and cannot interface with radios used by emergency first responders.


  • A change order totaling $53,256.84, to a contract with Majestic Machine & Engineering, for major repairs of Unit 11 steam turbine generator on St. Croix. The project completion date was also extended.


  • A six-month extension and contract increase of $106,400 to Tantalus Systems for the purchase of network controller upgrade kits. The approval also provides additional time to upgrade and optimize the Automated Metering Infrastructure network. The system is being upgraded to accommodate the addition of smart potable water meters and new streetlight automated functions.


    All approvals came on unanimous votes.


           In the “WAPA…Working For You” segment, Programmer / Communications Analyst, Leslie Smith II, of WAPA’s IT Department, provided an overview of his daily duties which include maintenance and service of telephone communications, two-way radio systems, fax services, credit card payment machines, printers, cash counting machines, telephone system controllers, voicemail and long distance service. “The most intricate part of my duties lies with the phone system. We also continue to provide new solutions to a dynamic field to ensure that WAPA utilizes the best technology available,” Smith told members of the board. Smith joined the Authority in 2016.

Board members present included: Chairperson Elizabeth Armstrong, Vice Chairman Noel Loftus, Secretary Juanita Young, Commissioners Gustav James and Devin Carrington, Director Marvin Pickering, Gerald T. Groner, Esq., Cheryl Boynes-Jackson and Hubert Turnbull.


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