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Friday, March 31, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesWAPA Board Approves 2015 Budget

WAPA Board Approves 2015 Budget

The V.I. Water and Power Authority governing board approved its 2015 operating and capital budgets and several expenditures during the monthly meeting Wednesday.

Board members asked few questions and held little discussion before approving separate operating and capital budgets for the power company’s electrical system and water system.

The operating budget for the electrical side of the authority is $314.9 million and includes $227 million revenue from the levelized energy adjustment clause. Fuel expense was estimated at $207 million and depreciation and other expense are expected to run just under $100 million, leaving the authority with almost $9 million profit.

The electrical system’s capital budget was approved for almost $75 million with $32 million funded by revenue bonds leveraged by fuel tax. More than $2 million will be funded by grants and another $11.6 million by funds on hand.

According to WAPA Chief Financial Officer Julio Rhymer, the capital projects include completing the automated metering infrastructure throughout the territory. The automated metering will allow water and electric meters to be read in the WAPA office. Eventually consumers will be able to read their usage numbers on television, he said after the meeting.

Another component of the automated metering infrastructure will detect electrical line problems, shut down the troubled area and dispatch repair technicians.

The water system’s operating budget was approved for $35 million in revenue and almost $33 million in expenditures. According to Henry Thomas, the WAPA consultant who presented the water system’s business plan, water sales dropped in 2014 and no new personnel will be added.

The board also approved almost $14 million in the 2015 water system budget for capital projects. WAPA’s internal funds are $2.38 million and another $9.3 million will finance projects. Rhymer said capital projects include line repairs and improvements.

Over the next five years, rehabilitation and other projects planned for St. Thomas will take $7.5 million, according to Thomas’s business plan. On St. Croix water line upgrades in Christiansted and Frederiksted will take almost $3 million. Thomas said a 5 percent water base rate increase will be necessary by Fiscal Year 2019 to cover $60 million in long range capital projects.

Other action taken by the board included approving a one-year contract with Caribbean Auto Mart for $1.4 million to “standardize” WAPA’s fleet of vehicles. Rhymer said the move would lower expenses because vehicles could be purchased in volume, the number of parts in inventory could be lowered, and the car company will provide software so WAPA mechanics can become certified and maintain the fleet. The contract can be renewed for three years at the end of a year, Rhymer said.

Board member Donald Francois asked if other auto dealerships were asked to bid and Rhymer said none of them replied.

Karl Knight, director of the V.I. Energy Office, suggested purchasing hybrid autos if possible.

The board also approved fuel vendors for 2015 at $401,775 on St. Thomas with St. Thomas Trucking and Fuel. On St. Croix, fuel purchase from Hovensa was estimated at $318,175 and $7,000 for delivery from the refinery by Chitolie Trucking. If fuel usage exceeds the budget, the board will be asked to vote for an increase.

The board was asked to approve $48,275 for additional rock excavation at the Midland substation and correct a project cost down from $12.9 million to $12.2 million.

The board adjourned into executive session to discuss legal and personnel matters.

Board members present at the meeting were Knight, Francois, Noel Loftus, Juanita Young and Wayne Biggs, commissioner of V.I. Licensing and Consumer Affairs.

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