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Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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Short-Term Bailout Coming To Keep WAPA Running

After a second emergency meeting on Monday, the governor and senators agreed in principle to make an emergency appropriation later this week to pay immediate past-due accounts to Vitol to restore propane supplies and keep the electricity flowing at the V.I. Water and Power Authority.

WAPA: Utility Bills Will Jump Without PSC Action on Base Rate

Without the 2.5 cent base rate hike the Public Services Commission denied on Thursday, the V.I. Water and Power Authority will default on its debt to Vitol, cutting off propane and forcing it to revert to oil, which will up the cost of fuel by 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Catherine Sequin and Troy Holloway cross the finish line together. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)

Ellis is First Virgin Islander Across the Line in Beauty and the Beast

Sunday’s 31st running of the Beauty and the Beast Triathlon saw cooler weather, calmer seas and better road conditions than some previous years, especially when the event – America’s Paradise and Ironman 70.3 – was held in May, competitors said.
Brian Chase sings his wining entry.

Chase Wins Second Junior Calypso King Crown

The plight of the homeless was the topic of the song that captured the Junior Calypso King competition for 16-year-old Brian Chase. Telling the story of several homeless people living on the streets of St. Croix, Chase, put on a rousing performance.

VIHFA Buys Villa Morales, a St. Croix Landmark, For Homeless Housing

The facility will provide up to 20 emergency shelter beds, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte presents to attendees of the semi-annual Revenue Estimating Conference. (Source photo by Bethaney Lee)

Tourism Figures Rise, But V.I. Is ‘Under Siege’ on Cruise Ship Arrivals

Tourism has been rebounding in the territory since the 2017 hurricanes. Air visitors are up by 43 percent in the past year, hotel tax revenue collections are up 40 percent and cruise ship arrivals are up only 3.8 percent, to just under a million passengers.

WAPA’s Finances, Part 3: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?

WAPA is losing money and swimming in debt, with very high electricity costs. Decades of hospitals and government agencies using it an involuntary lender by not paying power bills have starved it, forcing chronic delays in maintenance and upgrades. But not all is doom and gloom.
St. Thomas' first power plant under construction, long before the creation of the Water and Power Authority in 1964. (Undated early 20th century photo provided by the St. Thomas Historical Trust)

WAPA’s Finances Part 2: A Case of Chronic Starvation

WAPA is swimming in debt. Where did it come from? What can be done about it? Some in the PSC, Senate and the public feel this debt is the result of mismanagement. Is it? And how much does it matter, if we have to pay up anyway?

WAPA Finances: Raise Base Rate and See Lower Total Rates Soon, or Pay More Forever

It will surprise no one to hear that finances at the V.I. Water and Power Authority are not good. But can it become sustainable? Is the news all bad or is there sunlight?
Peter Chapman addresses the Business Attraction Summit at the Buccaneer Resort. (Photo provided by the Research and Technology Park)

RT Park Summit Draws Potential Investors to St. Croix

For three days this month, more than 130 technology business owners, government officials and local stakeholders gathered on St. Croix to attend a business summit presented by the University of the Virgin Islands' Research and Technology Park.

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