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Public Services Commission Executive Director Donald Cole informed Senate Finance Committee members that even after WAPA’s conversion to propane is complete on St. Thomas, ratepayers are not likely to see the large immediate rate savings they were promised.
After more than two hours of discussion, a back and forth between the Public Services Commission and V.I. Water and Power Authority officials, PSC tabled the discussion until it’s next monthly meeting without taking further action.
Representatives from the territory’s franchise ferry companies painted a dire picture of operations, which were hard hit by the hurricanes in 2017 and are now “dramatically” impacted by a reduction in travel brought on by local coronavirus response efforts.
A stateside consultant group has issued suggestions for remaking St. Thomas and the greater Virgin Islands from top to bottom. Recommendations run the gamut, from establishing bike lanes and promoting scooter traffic to creating new government agencies.
WAPA executives responded to charges that it has been unresponsive to customer complaints by providing a full report to the Public Services Commission at its Thursday meeting, detailing the areas of concern and how they are being dealt with.
The Virgin Islands Public Services Commission voted Thursday to censure commission member Johann Clendenin, reprimanding him for allegedly “demeaning, insulting, disruptive and disrespectful behavior.”
Senate votes to bailout WAPA with funds from GERS.
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.
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.
Residents who gathered for a hearing of the Public Services Commission Thursday hoping to hear news about the proposed WAPA rate increase got a double whammy: Not only did the PSC decide not to act on the utility’s request for a base rate increase after hours of testimony, but it also approved a decrease in both water and electric Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC) rates.
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