Press Release Details

WAPA Monthly Board Meeting Headlined by Financial and Insurance Matters

May 04, 2021

Extension of Credit Lines, Deferral of Debt Service Payment and Insurance Matters Headline Monthly Governing Board Meeting

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s governing board voted this week to extend lines of credit with First Bank, defer debt service payment on a water system loan and to approve all annual insurance policies except for windstorm coverage.

The seven members present approved a deferral of a $1.3 million debt service payment on a federal loan for the water system. FEMA has agreed to WAPA’s request to delay the payment until July.

The board also approved a 90-day extension on existing lines of credit with First Bank. The credit lines, now extended to July 31, include $10 million and $4.8 million for the electric system, $1.1 and $2 million for the water systems and a $50 million overdraft credit facility.

WAPA’s annual insurance renewals were approved except for windstorm coverage. Board members discussed, but took no action on, adopting a windstorm insurance policy at Thursday’s meeting. Representatives of insurance consultant Willis Towers Watson told board members that securing windstorm coverage for WAPA is challenging because of losses sustained during the hurricanes of 2017 and pending litigation stemming from those claims. Board members are considering an alternative policy that would provide $10 million in coverage should a major hurricane impact the territory.

During executive session, board members discussed legal and personnel matters and voted unanimously to begin interviews for the General Counsel position at WAPA. Attorney Dionne Sinclair is currently serving as Acting General Counsel.

In a summary of his monthly executive director’s report, Interim CEO Noel Hodge told board members that a close watch is being maintained on the rising cost of propane fuel. “While we have been exceeding the established benchmarks for the ratio of propane fuel to oil used for electrical generation, the rising cost of propane is a concern.”

Hodge also told board members that the Authority is hiring temporary meter readers to reduce the levels of estimated billing each month. “While the current rate of estimated bills is steadily on a decline and is in fact significantly lower when compared to last summer, the current rate of 8% is not acceptable.” Hodge said the goal is to continue to reduce that percentage each month. “We will bring on additional meter readers to physically read an increased number of meters, estimate less accounts and complete a billing cycle within 30 days. The addition of more meter reading staff is really a stop gap measure until we complete our evaluation of the automated metering systems that we intend to fully restore.” A major push continues by WAPA to have the percent of estimated bills lowered to less than 2% per billing cycle. Once that and other milestones are achieved, additional federal funding earmarked for various mitigation projects that comprise the Authority’s strategic transformation plan, will be released. Board Chairman Anthony D. Thomas told the interim executive director that the board stands squarely behind WAPA’s efforts and “the board will do its part to ensure that the goals are realized.”

Both Thomas and Hodge encouraged persons seeking employment in a temporary or permanent capacity to visit the WAPA website, www.viwapa.vi/about-us/career-opportunities and review all available career opportunities.

Board members present included Thomas, Vice Chairman Jed JohnHope, Secretary Juanita Young, Directors Kyle Fleming and Joel Lee, Hubert Turnbull and Cheryl Boynes-Jackson. Elizabeth Armstrong was excused.

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