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Residents Have the Power To Cut WAPA Bills

Feb. 14, 2006 — In recent weeks there have been news articles decrying the Water and Power Authority's and the Pubic Services Commission's inability to lower residents' electric bills. Arguments that officials have not done all they should may have some validity, but the truth now is that residents are the ones who have the biggest opportunity to bring down their own electric bill.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that savings of 30 to 40 percent can be made when conservation steps are taken. The good news, in the bad news scenario of rising oil costs, is that savings by conservation are now dramatic. For example, if you have 27-inch television that you leave on for eight hours a day, it is costing you about $80 a year on your WAPA bill. Shutting if off when no one is watching it will result in significant savings.
In the early days of computers, it was often said that it was best to leave the computer on all the time. That is false. Computer and monitor are probably using 270 watts an hour. If a resident left the home computer on eight hours a day, it added about $190 to the household's annual WAPA bill.
Turning off the power when appliances are not in use is just one of many ways Virgin Islanders can bring down their energy cost. Each time a resident changes from an incandescent bulb to a compact florescent bulb he or she cuts energy consumption for that light by 75 percent. With WAPA's kilowatt per hour charge of 24 cents, the savings on one bulb would be $30 a year for a bulb burned four hours a day.
The V.I. Energy Office has many other ways to help bring consumers electric bills down. It also has incentive programs to help residents buy energy efficient appliances. Visit the Energy Office's booth (near the east gate) at the Agriculture and Food Fair this weekend to find out more or call 773-1082 on St. Croix or 774-3320 on St. Thomas.
Editor's Note: Don Buchanan is the Media Information Specialist at the Virgin Islands Energy Office. He can be reached at dbuchanan@vienergy.org

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