Press Release Details

WAPA Acknowledges Passage Of Legislation To Address Monies Owed To Propane Fuel Supplier; PSC's Extension Of Leased Generation Surcharge

Dec 28, 2019


The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority
Corporate Communications 
Contact:  Jean P. Greaux, Jr., Director of Corporate Communications
340-774-3552 extension 2147 or 340-244-7330
communications@viwapa.vi / www.viwapa.vi
December 28, 2019
     Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Executive Director Lawrence J. Kupfer thanked the 33rd Legislature for its passage of legislation that facilitates WAPA’s addressing some of its outstanding sums to VITOL, and the resumption of electricity generated by propane fuel.

     “In addition to the members of the 33rd Legislature, we extend gratitude to Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. and Lt. Governor Tregenza Roach for their leadership in a collective and collaborative effort of both branches of government to address this most pressing issue. For WAPA, there is currently no option other than the use of lower-cost propane to generate electricity through the use of more efficient and reliable generators at both power plants as we continue to incorporate renewables into our long-term generation mix,” Kupfer said. 

     Since the suspension of fuel supply by VITOL, WAPA has been forced to use the more expensive No. 2 oil on older, less efficient, and less reliable units. “The average cost of oil is approximately 40% more expensive than LPG. Using 100% oil to generate electricity costs WAPA, and subsequently our ratepayers, approximately $200,000 per day.”

     Kupfer also expressed his appreciation to the members of the V.I. Public Services Commission who met in an emergency meeting on Friday to reconsider some of the actions taken at a December 12th meeting. “Friday’s action by the PSC to extend the lease generation surcharge is welcomed by WAPA.” Based on the decision the PSC made earlier this month, WAPA maintained that it could not afford to pay for rental generators which use propane fuel to generate electricity beyond December 31 when the surcharge was originally set to expire.

     Additionally, Kupfer said, WAPA continues to lobby for the PSC’s consideration and implementation of a permanent base rate. The Authority must have a permanent rate structure before it can approach investors to refinance the outstanding debt owed VITOL. “Not only will the refinancing allow us to spread the debt out to a longer term at less stringent monthly payments, we can use the refinancing to lower rates for our customers. We urge the PSC to implement the base rate as suggested by the hearing examiner immediately,” he said.
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The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is an autonomous agency of the Virgin Islands Government which produces and distributes electricity and drinking water to residential and commercial customers in the territory. WAPA was created by the Fifth Legislature of the Virgin Islands in 1964 through Act No. 1248. Today, WAPA generates electrical power at production plants on St. Thomas and St. Croix, and distributes electrical service through smart grids to customers on St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Hassel Island, and Water Island. Potable water is distributed to almost 13,000 customers through water lines and standpipes. WAPA also has the responsibility of installing and maintaining street lights.