November bills from the V.I. Water and Power Authority for water and electricity were delayed by a technical glitch and other problems and will be issued shortly, so customers will see two bills in December, the agency announced.
Julio Rhymer, WAPA’s executive director, said in a statement Wednesday that a technical glitch with the utility’s meter data management system software, coupled with "personnel challenges," led to the delayed distribution of the November bills.
“We anticipate that the bills will be issued by Friday,” Rhymer said. The software system that had a glitch stores, validates and prepares meter consumption data collected by the utility’s new Automated Metering Infrastructure System (or smart meter system) for customer billing and analysis.
Rhymer said the delay affected over 21,000 accounts in the St. Thomas-St. John district, and the delayed bill for November means that those ratepayers will receive two bills in the month of December. The earlier of the two bills will be due in December, while the latter bill will be due in January.
Several employees were on leave or on vacation, while a software upgrade was installed for the smart meter system, causing it to take longer than it normally would to resolve an issue with the software and complete the billing, according to WAPA spokesman Jean Greaux.
Asked if the delay might cause anyone to have an overdue bill or have their power cut off, Greaux said there should not be an issue, but customers should call the St. Thomas/St. John customer service line if they experience any problems.
That number is: (340) 774-3552. There is also information at the V.I. WAPA website: www.viwapa.vi.