PSC Special Meeting (July 2022)

The Virgin Islands Public Services Commission (PSC) held its Regular Meeting on Thursday, July 14, 2022. The agenda included items related to the Water and Power Authority (WAPA) and the adoption on new policies and procedure and the implementation of Act NO. 8375 – Virgin Islands Ratepayers Bill of Rights.

In the PSC’s last meeting on February 25, 2022, a LEAC rate was granted for a period March 2022 – June 2022. This rate was adopted as oil and related fuel prices climbed substantially this year, and as WAPA’s new CEO was being brought on board. The Commission chose not to pursue significant actions in the first few months of this new management team, to permit them to get up and running. The Electric LEAC rate has now expired, and the Commission has encouraged WAPA to submit a new filing seeking an extension of the rate that expired in June.

CEO Andrew Smith expressed that the authority did not intend to change the LEAC rate. Commissioner Pedro Williams inquired of WAPA what their plans were as it pertains to the LEAC rates. He then expressed to WAPA that they need to communicate to the Commission what their intent is. WAPA CEO Smith reiterated that while WAPA’s cost of producing electricity remain above its rates, the USVI government is currently subsidizing those rates and WAPA does not intend to seek an increase in its rates. The Commission unanimously adopted a motion to “extend the current LEAC rate to a period not to exceed 3 months retroactive to July 1, 2022 (July 1-September 30, 2022). However, WAPA must provide adequate justification for the rate extension and indicate a no net change in the LEAC within ten calendar days.”

The Commission heard testimony on:

  • Recent outages and actions taken to prevent reoccurrence

  • The installation of four additional Wartsila units on St. Thomas

  • The implementation of more efficient, reliable, and appropriately sized generation on St. Croix

  • The status of the Aggreko units on St. Croix

The PSC staff presented a draft document of the “PSC Customer Service Complaint Procedure and Timeline” for review by the Commission, WAPA, and the public. The purpose of this document is to improve customer service on billing and service issues, including implementation of the Ratepayers’ Bill of Rights. The document is available at the PSC St. Thomas and St. Croix office, Facebook page and website.

WAPA is in arrears to the Commission $570,853,78 for its outstanding annual assessments. WAPA has initiated a payment plan with the Commission and continues to make payments. WAPA CEO Andrew Smith vows to make all payments by the end of the 3rd quarter.

All four Commission members (David Hughes, Raymond Williams, Andrew Rutnik, and Pedro Williams) were in attendance, along with ex officio member Senator Genevieve Whitaker.

Learn more about the VIPSC matters and efforts by visiting the Facebook page and this website.

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