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tommy b
(@tommy_b)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 98
July 25, 2011 4:49 pm  

A friend of my on stx just got another extra bill from WAPA. Apparently WAPA uses estimates for meters are not working properly. Once the meter is up and working they billed extra because the new usage was more than the estimates. Of course the usage would be more in a rental when it actually has renters at the place! But it is just unreal that they can bill for months when no one was at the location. From what I have been hearing many people dislike the rates and service WAPA provides. Anyone have any thoughts?


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RockyDock
(@RockyDock)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 112
July 25, 2011 4:54 pm  

Tommy, tommy, tommy. I doubt that anyone will reply because we are all so pleased with WAPA.


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tommy b
(@tommy_b)
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Posts: 98
July 25, 2011 6:27 pm  

Haha sounds good. I would think solar energy would be used more on the island.


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stxem
(@stx-em)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 862
July 25, 2011 6:35 pm  

The same thing happened to me last year that was happening to your friend--WAPA was estimating usage for an apartment no one was living in. I was persistent, kept calling and they were actually very helpful. When they realized they were estimating way too high, they gave me a huge credit on the bill.

I'm not a cheerleader of WAPA by any means and am pretty disgusted with their actual service and rates--however, I've always had good experiences with the ladies in the back office and over the phone.


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Bombi
(@Bombi)
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July 25, 2011 6:37 pm  

Solar power works great if you can afford the $50K + installation costs. A grid tiered 2KW system costs about $20 K with about a 50% rebate.

If we had some reasonable financing options there would be a lot more solar.

WAPA has no incentive to bring us less expensive more reliable energy. There is no, nor will they allow any direct competition.


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Novanut
(@novanut)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 905
July 25, 2011 9:46 pm  

W E
A RE
P ATHETIC
A SSHOLES

FOR PUTTING UP WITH THEIR LEGAL THIEVERY.

Resignation petitions? Protests? Blockades? Universal refusal to pay bills for one month?

Just a thought...


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Juanita
(@Juanita)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3111
July 25, 2011 10:42 pm  

Disconnected 5 meters in Jan. Still no deposit refund. Like an idiot, I paid the last bill before the disconnect, so they owe me money.

We are going to disconnect some more meters next month, so I'm just not going to pay the bill I have that is due Aug. 2. We'll see how that goes. I'm betting late charges. Funny how that only works one way.

Reported a security light out in April, 2010. Not fixed yet, and NO refund. Get this...they tell us that when they get the light fixed, then they will give us a credit for the entire length of time the light was out, and BTW..."Keep paying the bill... We're coming to you." At least we should get interest on the deposits they haven't refunded yet, but on a service refund, for over a year....nada!

Yeah, tommy, we all just LUV wapa!


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Lizard
(@Lizard)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1842
July 25, 2011 10:51 pm  

I Love WAPA, at times I'm able to read a book at night, watch TV, Refrigerate my food, Run my AC/Fans, keep my mind sharp with all the new mathematical billings to check. I couldn't ask for more.


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rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2470
July 25, 2011 11:16 pm  

I love WAPA. If I don't pay my bill they shut MY power off. If the government doesn't pay it's bill they raise MY rates.


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mgpilot
(@mgpilot)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 171
July 26, 2011 12:16 am  

OK, since the subject of WAPA has come up again... Is there anything that we, as citizens of the VI, can do about the LEAC? Petitions? Refusal to pay? Anything??? I'm finding it harder and harder to swallow bills in excess of $500 on a house that sits empty during the day and doesn't run AC.


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Juanita
(@Juanita)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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July 26, 2011 2:33 am  

I'm all about refusal to pay, and let's do it during hurricane season, since we won't have power, anyway.


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STXBob
(@STXBob)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2138
July 26, 2011 3:30 am  

Out of curiosity, does anybody know what the WAPA rate per KWHr was from 1986 to 1999, when crude oil was around $20/barrel? For reference, it's now $0.46(?) per KWHr and oil is around $120/barrel.


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tommy b
(@tommy_b)
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Posts: 98
July 26, 2011 4:15 am  

Doesn's sound like WAPA is very fun at all. Does anyone know an average estimate price per month for a one bedroom apartment with ac?


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InnAtPelicanHeights
(@InnAtPelicanHeights)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 319
July 26, 2011 9:29 am  

WAPA per KW is around .45 cents .

So, if you look at your existing bill, multiply your KW usage x .45. Probably will give you the best estimate.

A single person aware of cost of electricity, I see bills $60 to 75 per month for our tenants, without AC. If you rum AC 12 hours a day, you are looking at anywhere $2.00 to 3.00 dollars a day extra. the $75 bill is NOW $150 to $200.

Some tenants get their first month bill of $250, and the next month its down to $100---they become aware of $$$$$$$ cost, and now are shutting off lites, TVS, running AC only when needed, etc.......

Hope this helps.

PS WAPA rates are crazy, but I always have good experiences dealing with WAPA employees.


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tommy b
(@tommy_b)
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Posts: 98
July 26, 2011 4:23 pm  

Thanks for the info, sounds like the rates are high, but if you limit your usage you can control your bill.


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Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 297
July 26, 2011 4:50 pm  

The best thing for the USVI is for the gov't to sell WAPA to a major USA utility company. Gov't gets much needed money. Utility company has deep pockets that can get financing for new equipment / projects. Utility could be proactive with new projects and be in control instead of WAPA with these RFP's for PPA (purchase power agreement) where they push all of the development risk and effort on others (usually small outside private companies). But, the issue is that most do not like change AND that WAPA has to do little for these PPA requests.


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sugarlander
(@sugarlander)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 199
July 26, 2011 5:58 pm  

This is the cycle we seem to be in.

Higher prices for residential consumers mean less consumer spending. This leads to reduced demand for restaurants, retailers, landlords, etc. Marginally profitable businesses go under as consumer demand declines. Business closures reduce demand throughout the supply chain putting more pressure on suppliers, shippers, and other VI businesses.

Higher electric costs and reduced demand shrink the number of businesses. Unemployment puts additional pressure on consumer spending. With fewer competitors, businesses are more able to pass on WAPA price increases to customers. Flat wages and higher prices leads to less consumer spending.

As the overall demand for electric decreases, the WAPA fixed cost will have to be spread to fewer customers leading to yet higher prices.

In a small economy like St. Croix, these effects are very visible. There are cleaner, less expensive options for energy but it seems there is a lack of urgency and vision by the government.


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tommy b
(@tommy_b)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 98
July 26, 2011 6:13 pm  

sugarlander - that is a vicious cycle and I definitely agree with you. flat wages + higher prices = less consumer spending which in turn creates a slower economy/negative growth. What are the less expensive options for energy in the VI?


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Jumbie
(@ohiojumbie-2)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 717
July 26, 2011 6:22 pm  

WAPA management is the problem. They resist changes to their "good ole boy" network & employee base.WAPA is like most politicians; they say one thing but do another. In the end after verbally saying they are exploring cheaper sources to produce electric, they really do not want any change to the current status quo. That's because it would take away their high paying jobs & cushy lifestyles.. They chased off Southern Electric years ago from taking over the electric power generation because SE proved they could generate electricity for a lot less cents/kwh with a lot less people. I recently returned from Ohio where my brother's electric costs are about $.11/kwh which is a rate from a co-op electric company that buys the electric from a major coal generating electric plant.


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stiphy
(@stiphy)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 956
July 26, 2011 8:45 pm  

While I am fed up with what we pay for electric did Wapa not try to bring in a new alternative in the Alpine deal last year to help lower costs? That was shot down. By who? I know environmentalists were part of the group protesting it but why else was the Alpine deal killed?

My research indicates that the alternatives that people love to tout like solar and wind aren't economically viable yet. I would love it if I was wrong, ANYTHING that reduces our electric costs and diversifies our fuel supply is a good thing. But I feel like a lot of people just say "why don't we go solar or wind" but really don't now if it would do anything to reduce costs.

Sean


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sugarlander
(@sugarlander)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 199
July 26, 2011 9:42 pm  

Hi Tommy -- As a commercial customer, I can’t source energy other than to WAPA. We recently replaced a perfectly good AC with a very energy efficient model and installed LED lighting. However, it’s tough to reduce usage because it’s a customer comfort issue.

Hi Sean - I don’t know a lot about the economics of alternative energy and wouldn’t support a technology that costs us even more. But it seems like it would be practical with our trade winds and abundant sunshine. Furthermore, it makes considerably more sense here where the electric is 40+ cents kWh than the mainland. With the tax benefits, the ROI can’t be too bad. I’m betting the lack of projects have more to do with the regulatory hurdles. But maybe the numbers don’t add up….


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guice
(@guice)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 122
July 27, 2011 12:23 am  

Meter estimations is normal. It's done that way state side all the time, too. In most cases, however, estimations don't generally garner a new bill as the estimate is based on historical usage, and by the next billing period, if you were over their estimates, they just make up the difference in your new bill -- resulting in a higher than normal bill.

As you mentioned, the place was previously unoccupied. Estimates are based on historical usage over a period of 6-12 months. So, if the place was vacant during those times, it's obvious the estimations would be off (too low). You technically cannot blame WAPA for that.

As far as WAPA, my best word to describe them is: incompetent


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Lucy
 Lucy
(@Lucy)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 297
July 28, 2011 5:02 pm  

Stiphy,

The Alpine deal is not dead. It continues to drag on. They did get rid of the PET coke and now they are down to 1 power plant on STX and an RDF plant on STT & STX. RDF from STT will be barged to STX to be burnt there. --> Why not a small power plant for STT ???

This has been on-going for 2 years now. AND, since there is no land-lease agreement for the RDF plant on STT, they still can not start the permit process.

Through all these 2 years. WAPA just sits back and watches Alpine, struggle through the bureaucracy and politics. When the plant(s) ever get commissioned WAPA just pays Alpine $0.16 per kWh and then resells it to us for $0.44.

Alpine needs help in this development. To push documents through from review and approval, etc. If WAPA was a partner (or if a private utility ran the electric system and was a partner), there could be a incentive to help Alpine --> and us to get up-to-date equipment.


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crhs78
(@crhs78)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 58
July 28, 2011 5:05 pm  

Haha sounds good. I would think solar energy would be used more on the island.

im really surprised there isnt more solar power on the islands anyways...its not like there is a lack of solar power lol


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BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1017
July 28, 2011 5:37 pm  

Solar power works great if you can afford the $50K + installation costs. A grid tiered 2KW system costs about $20 K with about a 50% rebate.

If we had some reasonable financing options there would be a lot more solar.

WAPA has no incentive to bring us less expensive more reliable energy. There is no, nor will they allow any direct competition.

@ Tommy B and crhs78, Bombi explains why. Pretty much only the well-to-do can afford solar power.


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