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BEC versus WAPA Fuel Surcharge (LEAC) ???

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Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

I've discovered that the Bahamas Electricity Corp. (BEC) has a much lower fuel surcharge than WAPA. Why is that? They have similar generating plants that use fuel oil. And it seems the generating / distribution costs are about the same (... about $0.10 per kWh). The fuel surcharge is tied directly to the price of a barrel of oil.

http://www.bahamaselectricity.com/rates.cfm
BEC Electric Rates for Generation / Distribution

http://www.viwapa.vi/Customers/How_to_Read_your_Bill.aspx
WAPA Bill - Example

http://www.bahamaselectricity.com/about/fuel_surcharge.cfm
BEC Fuel Surcharge Summary

http://www.dailyfinance.com/quote/nymex/light-sweet-crude-oil-futures/~cl
Oil Price Summary for 2011

In Feb. the BEC fuel surcharge was $0.1075 per kWh when the cost of Oil was about $90 per Barrel. With Oil at $100 now, that would mean the BEC surcharge now is about $0.12 per kWh. My last WAPA bill had the LEAC at over $0.30 per kWh.

Even if the WAPA LEAC was $0.24 per kWh, why do the WAPA plants use double the amount of fuel per kWh of electricity. Or is the price WAPA is paying too high? Is HOVENSA the only supplier? Tankers go all over the world, so why does WAPA have an "exclusive contract" with Hovensa?

Either those guys in the Bahamas are doing something really right OR the USVI is doing something really wrong? OR maybe I am just missing something.

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Topic starter Posted : December 2, 2011 4:05 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

Despite what they tell us, the LEAC covers any and all shortfall that arises between the grossly mismanaged utility and its consumers. I've lived here a long long time and the excuses and justifications for the LEAC have changed every few years. After Hugo and Marilyn we were told that it was to 'pay back loans taken out to repair the transmission infrastructure' although no lenders were ever named and no terms were ever made public. In fact, electrical restoration came about through federal disaster grants, not loans, and no repayment was made. Still, the LEAC jumped and we all took it in stride.

They are a den of thieves, and shame on us, collectively, for allowing ourselves to be repeatedly raped by our own.

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Posted : December 2, 2011 4:39 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

Here is WAPA's definition of LEAC. It is "supposed" to only include fuel cost. And they say it is the Public Services Commission (PSC) that sets the number, but based on data provided by WAPA. Is there a conspiracy?

http://www.viwapa.vi/Customers/RatesFees/What_is_the_LEAC.aspx

I really think that the price WAPA is paying (or predicted to pay) for fuel oil is too high. Based on the type of power equipment that both BEC and WAPA use, they should (on average) use the same amount of fuel to create the same amount of kWh's.

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Topic starter Posted : December 2, 2011 6:56 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

That's what they say today. But based on their wording, it can be applied to anything they want.

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Posted : December 2, 2011 11:55 pm
vasecs
(@vasecs)
Advanced Member

Haven't you watched the commercials on TV?? I did and felt so much better about the screw job!!! How informative!

WAPA and the VI gov't are a joke and yes they are taking advantage of everyone in the territory.....period.

Hovensa has been taking advantage of fuel prices on STX for years. The agreement should be appealed or fought in court till death due us part! I have always thought Hovensa should sell fuel to STX RESIDENTS AND WAPA at their manufactured cost on island and not shipped all over the east coast and back.

STX could be a viable island with much to offer.....but it will not reach that status based on cost of energy and VI gov't mismanagement. Never will....period. Too much nepotism everywhere and everyone looks the other way!

Wouldn't it be great to see a citizens class action suit filed against both funded by the citizens of the territory!! Give them some of their own medicine!

I would contribute to the cause. Thanks for the venting.

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Posted : December 2, 2011 11:55 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

Hovensa isn't doing anything wrong, unethically or unfairly. WAPA is doing EVERYTHING wrong, unethically and unfairly.

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Posted : December 2, 2011 11:58 pm
LuckyGirl56
(@LuckyGirl56)
Advanced Member

2nd night in a row WAPA went out at 9 pm for about an hour. No reason, no explanation, just because. We are truly getting screwed.

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Posted : December 3, 2011 3:53 am
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

On STX, Feeder 6, Thursday night's electrical outage was 24 minutes, and Friday night's outage was 17 minutes.

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Posted : December 3, 2011 1:11 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

I doubt that what I have to say will exactly thrill anyone but I've lived here for almost 30 years and the problems with WAPA today are identical to the problems with WAPA all those years ago. Nothing has changed. The antediluvian generators have been fixed and replaced countless times over the years but can't accommodate the rampant and unchecked construction projects which suck off the grid and bleed it dry. Harnessing natural energy of which we have an abundance should have been implemented years and years ago but every attempt has ended up in the hole.

Even just a couple of years ago one of the senators proposed a windmill plan. The problem was that he and his cohorts knew nothing about wind turbines (what a surprise) and couldn't even be bothered to do any decent research on them. They got a proposal from some half-baked provider and spent a ton of money allegedly researching the project. All one had to do was do a quick Google to discover that the windmills being proposed were out-dated, inefficient, totally useless for our location and there were thousands like them being sold on the internet for a dime a dozen.

I could go on for pages but will save the agony!

PS: The "Windmills to Nowhere" in the Tutu Park Mall are a wonderful complement to our famous, "Bridge to Nowhere" in Nadir ... Time for them both to have nice plaques attached to them and put them on the sightseeing and photo-op routes for tourists. Someone could make a nice little income setting up a food van next to them ...

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Posted : December 4, 2011 2:19 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

Tart, you are correct that history tends to repeat itself on this island. Let's see if WAPA can get us 5 MWe's of PV power for STT. The latest RFP provided the suppliers with a site to use on STX, but no site on STT? Why would a developer spend any money on STT, when the path is cleared for STX? And while we all pay over $0.40 per kWh, they only want to give the solar developers around $0.15 --> but still charge us the same $0.40? I still think that selling WAPA to a US utility would be best so that we could have a fresh new start.

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Topic starter Posted : December 5, 2011 4:22 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

I still think that selling WAPA to a US utility would be best so that we could have a fresh new start.

And that proposal will go down like a zinc cupcake just as the last one did after Marilyn ...

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Posted : December 5, 2011 5:54 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

So Tart, I guess that we should just get used to it and everyone quit belly-aching. Otherwise a WAPA organisation and process restructuring is in order. And including government oversight / interactions (or in-actions).

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Topic starter Posted : December 5, 2011 6:42 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

The only advice I can give (and have been giving for donkey's years!) is that if you have problems with the way that the government and its agencies operate, become an educated member of the community, register to vote and then look into the records of the incumbents and the newbies. If you're not going to register to vote in an effort to create change or if you register to vote and then come up with the lame excuse that, "my one vote won't help anything" then simply SHUT UP and don't go on forums kvetching every time the darned power goes out. D

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Posted : December 5, 2011 7:43 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

Lucy, Thank you for taking the time to post. I value your educated and well informed insight, as well as your positive and productive proposals. Keep 'em coming...

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Posted : December 5, 2011 7:49 pm
saucey
(@saucey)
Advanced Member

I came across this post concerning WAPA, Alpine

'SteamChief on December 6, 2011 at 3:34 am
ok, I’ll base everything on figures that I foumd on the net-from everyone from wapa to edin to the energy office; Figures based on: 42 MW average load= 1008 MWH or 1,008,000 KWH 19,000 bbls/week #2 Oil Delivered (that’s for electric generation only) #2 oil= 42 gal per bbl, 7.2 lbs per gal, 17000 btu per lb 19000/7(42)(7.2)(17000)=13,953,600,00 btu per day 13,953,600,00/3412= 4,089,586 kwh daily (gross energy value) 1,008,000/4,089,586= overall efficiency of 24% Should be (Based on EIA)33% for Steam Plants or 37% for Gas Turbine Plants OR 1,349,563 kwh and 1,513,147 kwh respectfully. WAPA is therefore running on an average efficiency of 26% below the national average despite getting the fuel for below average costs. That translates to $316,160 a week that the rate payer is being overcharged due to WAPA’s inefficiency. Alpine @ WAPA cost of .22 kwh: 16 MW= 384,00 kwh (before their 8% line loss) WAPA pays Alpine $84,480 daily. That value represents about a decreased usage of 660 barrels daily at $128 per barrel translates to about a $48.00 savings per month to each rate payer by average-based on WAPA selling it to us at the current rates. It also means that Alpine’s gross is about $30,835,200 a year-won’t take them long to recapitalize the $250,000,000 or so they ionvested-I would venture to say that after all of the tax breaks, EDC Benefits and all-I think they’ll profit $8 million a year then sell us the plant down the road and make a killing…'

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Posted : December 6, 2011 8:51 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

Note, the Alpine plant capacity is (might be) 16 MWe. However, like all the other plants on the system, they most likely will need to load-follow (i.e., turn down at night) to say 8 MWe. It is evident that the WAPA plants load follow ---> in order to get an average of 42 MWe, as the peak load is something like 80 MWe. Steam T-G's and Gas Turbine T-G's both loose efficiency when they turn down. Using 33% and 37% efficiency (which is normally at 100% capacity) on the average load doesn't seem to be accurate.

The Alpine plant availability might only be 8,000 hours per year. Assuming 12 MWe average production you get 96,000,000 kWh per year and at $0.22 that yields a gross payment of $21.12M. With operating costs at 2 RDF plants and the one power plant, that would mean an ROI of over 20 years for the $250M development cost. An ROI of over 20 years is a non-starter, so they must be getting paid to take the MSW, but not sure the amount per ton. Maybe someone knows this?

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Topic starter Posted : December 7, 2011 3:37 pm
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

How and who controls WAPA can be changed by the voters thru a Ballot Initiative. This below is from a recent St. Thomas Source article.

Citizens can also create or overturn laws through initiatives. To get an initiative on the ballot, one needs at least 10 percent of the voters of each district or 41 percent of all registered voters in the territory. If enough signatures are gathered, the legislature can adopt the initiative or reject it. If it is rejected by the legislature, it will appear on the ballot in the next general election, unless the legislature holds a special election for the purpose. When it comes to a vote, a majority of registered voters must cast a vote and a majority of the votes cast must be in favor of the initiative for it to pass.

Maybe there is a senator that feels the way we all do and would be willing to spread-head an initiative? Let's see.

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Topic starter Posted : December 7, 2011 8:32 pm
JoeyBallgame
(@JoeyBallgame)
Advanced Member

If you ask "Why does the WAPA plant seem to be using double the amount compared to the Bahamas"........

I would then point you to the level of education here on the Island.

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Posted : December 7, 2011 10:20 pm
Ric
 Ric
(@Ric)
Advanced Member

The Buccaneer Hotel has its own power plant. We use diesel generators similar to the ones WAPA uses. There are two important differences between the Buccaneer power plant and WAPA's. We were generating power for less than half of what WAPA charges and our system was set up so that our power would only be out for 30 seconds before the back ups kicked in. The plant rarely tripped off line, but we were ready if it did. Also our power lines are all below ground so they aren't affected by the weather. Why is it so hard for WAPA?

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Posted : December 8, 2011 12:40 am
beachy
(@beachy)
Trusted Member

but the Buc equipment is also maintained...I can remember the warnings in the office before you switched engines (so that no one lost some critical info on a computer, mainly)..not only is there redundancy, but it was maintained...something the VI never seems to do, whether it be wapa or the schools, or all these office buildings that are taken over by mold, the generators that won't start in the hurricane shelters because no one looked at them till they were needed, etc....regular maintenance would prevent so much of what happens...guess that's why it's called "preventive maintenance". The VI plan always seems to be use it till it breaks and then spend to buy new. Now wapa has no money to buy new, so things really don't work.

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Posted : December 8, 2011 1:09 am
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

If you ask "Why does the WAPA plant seem to be using double the amount compared to the Bahamas"........

I would then point you to the level of education here on the Island.

My point is this actually .... WAPA should not be using double the fuel. IMO, it seems like the "books are being cooked" between what WAPA actually pays / presents to the PSC and then what the PSC allows WAPA to charge for the LEAC. And this is substantiated by Ric from the Buc Hotel; which has (I suspect) smaller units than WAPA (... and which usually have lower efficiencies). But maybe WAPA-PSC are trying to "catch-up" to pay debts by inflating the LEAC .... if so, then they should come clean.

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Topic starter Posted : December 8, 2011 4:01 pm
vasecs
(@vasecs)
Advanced Member

How would someone gain access to verify? Would it take a court order? I am told there are so many "smoke and mirrors" at WAPA that it would ber very difficult to accurately verify consumption?

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Posted : December 8, 2011 6:25 pm
onthespot
(@onthespot)
Advanced Member

I would suspect there are a lot of illegal taps into the power grid and a significant number of people are getting their power by theft thus raising the total usage, divided by paying customers. It is only a guess, but I would be shocked if there was not a lot of bootleg current loss.

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Posted : December 8, 2011 8:38 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

I would suspect there are a lot of illegal taps into the power grid and a significant number of people are getting their power by theft thus raising the total usage, divided by paying customers. It is only a guess, but I would be shocked if there was not a lot of bootleg current loss.

WAPA has definitely improved its success rate in nailing the power t'iefs in recent years and I believe a good percentage of that improvement is because of increased public awareness, particularly when Mr. Smith discovers that his high electric bill is so because his good neighbor Mr. Jones has been tapping into his line ...

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Posted : December 9, 2011 12:39 am
Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
Advanced Member

Here is what they pay for LEAC in Bermuda ( 15 cents per kWh ). They have no refinery. Why again is WAPA double ???

Hamilton, Bermuda (14 November 2011) – Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited (BELCO) has submitted a proposal to the Energy Commission, seeking permission to increase base rate tariffs in 2012, 2013 and 2014, while also simplifying the rates structure.

BELCO did not increase rates in 2011, although it had approval to do so, due to economic conditions on the Island. The company is concerned about the public interest and is, therefore, proposing rates that have been benchmarked against the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to keep them close to CPI. BELCO has requested that the Energy Commission consider the following average rate increases:

•Residential customers -- 3.5% average rate increase per annum through 2014, including Facilities Fee increases of $3.00 in 2012 and 2013, and $2.00 in 2014.
•Commercial demand customers – 5% average rate increase per annum through 2014.
•Small commercial customers – 3.75% average rate increase per annum through 2014, including the same Facilities Fee increases as for residential customers.
The average monthly usage by residential customers is 700 kilowatt hours (kWh). Under the proposed increase, a customer using 700 kWh per month would see their electricity bill rise from $280.13 in 2011 to $283.05 in 2012, a difference of $2.92. The present average price per kWh for this customer inclusive of the facilities fee and with an average fuel adjustment rate of 15 cents per kWh is 40.02 cents, as compared with the proposed price of 40.04 cents per kWh for 2012.

Also see the web link. BELCO has like WAPA entertained new technologies but none implemented yet.

http://www.belco.bm/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=190&Itemid=163

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Topic starter Posted : December 15, 2011 2:50 pm
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