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Press Release Details

Governing Board Calls For Additional Belt-Tightening Measures At Utility In Light Of Strained Financial Outlook

Apr 06, 2020

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The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority
Corporate Communications
NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Jean P. Greaux, Jr., Director of Corporate Communications
340-774-3552 extension 2147 or 340-244-7330

communications@viwapa.vi / www.viwapa.vi

April 6, 2020

GOVERNING BOARD CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL BELT-TIGHTENING MEASURES AT UTILITY

IN LIGHT OF STRAINED FINANCIAL OUTLOOK

 

           The chairman of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s governing board, Commissioner Anthony D. Thomas, on Monday requested WAPA’s management develop a long-term sustainable financial plan for the utility.

          “There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that WAPA suffers from major financial challenges that are now amplified by the effects of COVID-19. At the same time, there is a constant cry from all ends of our community about the economic hardship created by monthly bills for electric and water service,” Thomas said.

           Thomas, who is also Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, said the board, which has a fiduciary responsibility to the people of the Virgin Islands, has asked WAPA’s management to continue reigning-in spending, and implementing greater financial controls. “Unfortunately, WAPA will remain in tough financial times until major debt is refinanced at more favorable rates, and until then, we must continue to curb all unnecessary spending.

            The governing board has directed management to immediately end all discretionary spending, curtail inter-island and off-island travel, continue to limit off-island training and conferences to only operational employees, and to maintain the practice of adopting austere budgets that are aimed at reducing spending and cutting debt. “The board believes that these measures are necessary in the wake of the continued financial difficulties. The difficult economic times that the territory will face over the next few months, and WAPA’s difficulty in addressing its obligations to many of its vendors, is indeed a harsh reality.” Thomas said.

            He said the board remains focused on the utility’s financial outlook, and will insist on belt-tightening measures until such time that WAPA can again regain its financial health.

 

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About WAPA: 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 streetlights.