So what's new?
It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that the V.I. government is again falling behind in its payments to the V.I. Water and Power Authority. As long as none of their offices go without electricity and water, and as long as they don't have to pay penalties, why should the WAPA bills be of concern?
WAPA is looking for yet another increase in electrical and water bills — allegedly due to the increased cost of oil because of the war in Iraq, problems with the Saudi Arabians, recent water damage and who knows what else. There¹s always a new reason but that $14 million sure would go a long way to fix a lot of the problems.
In 1998, my electrical bill ran about $400 a month. In 2003 my electric bill runs almost $650 a month and this with no increase in wattage used and in fact a small reduction by using electricity more efficiently.
As a small business owner, I struggle to pay my WAPA bill on time for fear of being shut off. I did get shut off once a couple of years ago, just as I was about to open my business for the evening. Food was already prepped, everything was ready to go but I couldn't get any help from anyone at WAPA and wasn't able to open for business that night, which was devastating.
When I went to WAPA early the next morning to find out what was going on, it was clearly indicated on the computer that my payment had been received the day before I was cut off. I asked the supervisor, just out of curiosity, how many government agencies had ever been cut off for non-payment and she snippily replied, "Oh, a few, from time to time."
In the last deluge, one of my satellite receiver boxes was fried ($75 replacement), as was my computer printer ($130 replacement) — all hooked into power surge protectors. Many of my friends and customers lost a whole lot more.
The never-ending saga continues with the private sector forced into paying for the government's excesses, waste and delinquencies. Some things will never change until the electorate gets smart and does something constructive as a voting body. Hope too often does not spring eternal.
Anna Clarke
St. Thomas

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