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Energy Office Seeking Input on Its Programs

May 18, 2005 –– The V.I. Energy Office wants to know what programs residents want funded, so the staff is holding a series of town meetings on the subject.
They start Monday at the Legislature building on St. John. Tuesday is St. Thomas's turn when the town meeting moves to the Legislature. The final town meeting will be held Wednesday at the Legislature building on St. Croix. All meetings run from 6 to 9 p.m.
Bevan Smith, Energy Office director, said the Energy Office needs the information to update its state energy plan.
"We're looking for input on ways to shape the program," he said.
He said that the Energy Office is working on a program that will allow homeowners with solar systems to sell power back to the V.I. Water and Power Authority.
"When your batteries are full, the excess energy goes back to WAPA," he said.
Smith said that the program will probably require two electrical meters, so he advised people building new homes to get a meter box big enough for both of them if they plan to participate in the program.
The Energy Office, which comes under the Planning and Natural Resources Department umbrella, has a couple of well-known programs. They include the rebate program on items, including solar panels and energy-efficient appliances and the Solar Sprint competition.
According to information forwarded by Smith, the Energy Office is mandated under the terms of the grants it receives from the federal government to set lighting efficiency standards for public buildings, promote car pools, van pools and public transportation, incorporate energy efficiency criteria into procurement procedures, and implement thermal efficiency standards for new and renovated buildings.
Optional programs, according to the federal mandates, include developing public education programs to promote energy conservation and transportation energy efficiency.
Smith said he hopes residents will bring up these and other energy-related topics at the town meetings.
He said he's working on a plan to televise live one or all of the meetings on WTJX. If that happens, viewers will be able to call in with their questions.
For more information or to confirm your attendance, call Energy Office administrative assistant Laurie Thomas-Jacobs at 773-1082, extension 2246.
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