PSC Regular Meeting (September 2022)

The Virgin Islands Public Services Commission (PSC) held its Regular Meeting on Monday, September 26, 2022. The agenda included items related to the Water and Power Authority (WAPA) current LEAC rate expiration and an update on solar implementation in the territory, telecommunications Universal Service Fund (USF) recertifications, and St. Thomas/St. John Ferry Franchise. The meeting was called to order and immediately rose into Executive Session where the Commission discussed personnel issues. No motions or official action were taken in Executive Session.

During the PSC’s meeting on July 14, 2022, the Electric LEAC rate was reauthorized retroactively from July 1, 2022, to continue through September 30, 2022, at the rate of 22.2246 ȼ/kWh. Earlier this week, WAPA submitted a filing requesting a 90-day extension of the current LEAC rate. WAPA stated that its current fuel cost is higher than the LEAC, but Government support has allowed WAPA to keep the rate at the current level. Commissioner Pedro Williams questioned WAPA on their intentions regarding the extension request. WAPA’s CEO Andrew Smith stated that the authority has no intention of submitting for any LEAC increases within 90 days. He hopes that adjustments will be made to the minimum filing requirements (MFR) by January 2023, when the LEAC is reconsidered.

WAPA’s CEO Andrew Smith, COO Michael Sharp, and CFO Jacob Lewis presented WAPA’s plans to implement solar and battery storage on all three islands. According to WAPA, this large solar development will fulfill the initiative announced by Gov. Albert Bryan Jr, to transition St. Croix to solar energy and successfully execute an internal strategic initiative to displace expensive and volatile fossil-fuel generation with lower, more stable, solar energy costs. The presentation was for informational purposes, and WAPA’s management will both seek its board approval and file for Public Services Commission approval before the next Commission meeting.

On Telecommunication matters, telecommunication companies that received federal support are due for recertification. Georgetown Consulting Group provided a report and recommendations for all utilities, and all were approved for USF recertification.

The Staff Report and Commissioners noted that the Virgin Islands has one of the lowest rates of participation in Lifeline and other programs designed and supported to provide telephone and broadband services to low-income families. Staff were instructed to seek ways to provide those benefits to more Virgin Islanders.

St. Thomas/St. John Ferry matters were tabled until the next scheduled PSC meeting.

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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