The Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) is now current on payments to the authority for street lighting across the territory. The debt rose as high as $15.8 million in January 2015, according to a press release from the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA).
“Through a consistent effort, the Department of Finance has made regular payments to pay off this outstanding balance and WAPA is grateful to Gov. Kenneth Mapp for his attention to this matter and his commitment to addressing this long outstanding obligation. For many years, the streetlight debt had been among one of the four top outstanding obligations to WAPA,” Executive Director Lawrence J. Kupfer said.
“The streetlight account now has a zero balance, and, additionally, going forward with the addition of our new efficient LED lighting program, street light billings should see a significant savings for the territory,” he said.
There are more than 16,000 streetlights installed throughout the Virgin Islands. WAPA maintains the streetlights and continues efforts with its contractor to replace light fixtures at each location where a light existed prior to the 2017 hurricanes. WAPA is also installing solar panels on selected utility poles across the Virgin Islands. The panels will provide three megawatts of distributed electricity to the grid.
“So, in all, the LED lights will have a longer life, reduced costs, and three megawatts of solar generated electricity will all also add to the cost savings. The installation of the solar panels in tandem with LED lighting at selected utility poles are another example of the commitment of the governor and WAPA to introduce the use of more sources of renewable energy,” Kupfer said.