July 30, 2004 – The Water and Power Authority governing board at its regular meeting on Friday authorized the use of up to $2.5 million from the Electric Revenue Insurance Fund to augment WAPA's fuel supply inventory during the current hurricane season.
The board also approved a number of other expenditures:
– $87,122 in payment of emissions fees to the Environmental Protection Division of the Planning and Natural Resources Department for calendar year 2003.
– $120,000 in payment of assessments to the Public Services Commission.
– Final payment of $29,271.60 to GAF for security services.
– Spending of up to $300,000 for personnel, materials and equipment needed to implement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compliance plan at the Randolph E. Harley Power Plant on St. Thomas.
– A $196,417.85 contract with Best Construction for the installation of an oil and water separator at the Richmond facility on St. Croix.
– A $705,000 contract with the Harris Group for engineering and design services to install a new heat-recovery steam generator unit and redesign a steam header and an exhaust gas duct for Unit 17 at the Richmond power plant.
– Extending the chlorine contract with AA Supplies until the balance of the $54,675 contract in the St. Thomas-St. John district is exhausted.
– Increasing by $50,000 the contract with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for the development and preparation of a request for proposals for alternative energy sources.
– $180,000 for three Alva McFarlane Engineering Scholarships of $60,000 each for the 2004-05 school year for students pursuing degrees in engineering.
The board also ratified a memorandum of understanding and an asset exchange with the V.I. Housing Authority of $100,000 for outstanding utility bills in exchange for three-quarters of an acre of land in Estate Thomas for the Long Bay electrical substation.
In other action, the board elected Daryl "Mickey" Lynch, who has served as chair for the last six months, to a full term in the position; it also elected Cheryl Boynes-Jackson as vice chair and Yolander Samuel-Deterville as secretary.
Lynch reappointed Claude "Tappy" Molloy to chair the board's Finance and Audit Committee and Alphonso Franklin to chair its Planning and Economic Development Committee.
In a report on his six-month tenure as chair, Lynch said the board has directed WAPA management to reduce utility bills by purchasing power from alternative sources at a cost cheaper than the authority can produce it. He said the escalating cost of oil is and will continue to be a challenge.
Among WAPA's accomplishments in the last six months, he cited:
– The memorandum of understanding with the Housing Authority and the exchange of assets in settlement of outstanding accounts receivable of $15.9 million.
– A disaster management compensation plan.
– A new St. John customer service office.
– A 5 percent reduction in the base electric rate's energy component.
– Approval of the installation of fiber-optic lines between Richmond and Sunny Isle on St. Croix to ensure that WAPA has its own reliable and adequate communication media.
– The board's first town meeting on St. John.
Challenges which face WAPA, Lynch said, include the need to improve the authoritys financial condition by reducing government account receivables and maintaining WAPAs investment grade bond rating; craft a positive public image and improve customer perception of the utility's product and service quality; and develop a corporate culture that fosters employee stability and productivity.
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