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WAPA Sets Budgets and Deadlines

June 30, 2005 – The V.I. Water and Power Authority Governing Board passed budgets totaling $287 million Thursday at its last meeting of the current fiscal year.
The budgets broke down as: electric operating system –$171,794,863; electric capital — $44,849,324; water operating system — $28,319,671; and water capital — $12,803,047, according to a press release.
Members of the St. Croix Alliance to Protect Utility Ratepayers will probably be going over the figures closely. The alliance is planning a meeting July 9 at 2 p.m. at the Juan F. Luis Cafeteria.
The alliance says it intends to develop initiatives for ratepayers to take action against what it calls "WAPA's extremely high utility rates."
The group is requesting an explanation of the Levelized Energy Adjustment (LEAC) Clause, the origin and purpose of it and all variables that make up the LEAC. It also is requesting from WAPA a complete example of how an electric bill is calculated, as applied to the current LEAC formula.
Governing board members did have bills on their mind Thursday. They want to collect what government agencies owed them.
Alberto Bruno-Vega, WAPA executive director, reported there had been no significant movement to settle outstanding debts by the V.I. National Guard, the Department of Property and Procurement or the Department of Education.
The board voted to disconnect those three agencies if they do not make a payment or come to a payment arrangement by July 28.
On May 31, Property and Procurement asked for an extension until June 20 to pay its debt of $124,587, but no payment has been received, according to a WAPA press release. The National Guard has made a $2,000 payment since May 16 and currently has a debt of $184,429.
The Department of Education has not responded to the authority’s June 8 letter to the commissioner requesting payment of the department’s outstanding debt of $1,354,008. Education is only paying its current billing amount.
Daryl "Mickey" Lynch, board chairman, said the Department of Justice and the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, which also received the May 16 disconnect notices, have brought their accounts current. He also stated that the Juan Luis Hospital’s governing board has submitted a payment plan which looks favorable to the authority.
Lynch and Bruno-Vega have both been invited to the Ratepayer Alliance meeting.

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