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Stand up against WAPA on 11-11-11?  

 

PMH
 PMH
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October 29, 2011 3:40 pm  

Saw a notice posted last night asking to turn off all possible power all day and night on 11-11-11 in order to send a statement to WAPA regarding their rates, especially LEAC. The posted notice indicated that this movement is endorsed by the Green Party of USVI... I'm participating, bump this if you are in!


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DixieChick
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October 29, 2011 5:07 pm  

we are in


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Jumbie
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October 30, 2011 1:16 pm  

Sorry to be cynical, but WAPA could care less who takes themselves off the grid 11/11/11. They don't really care..


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guice
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October 30, 2011 1:45 pm  

Yeah, you're most likely helping WAPA doing that. The company hurts when people use a lot of electricity. Taking yourself off the grid for a day will help them greatly. Going black for 1 day isn't going to do anything to forecasting, or retrograding, either. All that stuff is calculated a week - month block basis.

This is no different than the whole "No Gas for a Day" crap; and you've seen how well that works. Once, again, a concept that's poorly thought out: Gas is allocated on a weekly basis. Going black for a day merely frees up more gas for the next day consumption when everybody else needs to use it.

Same deal for energy, to a point. People will just hold off until the next day to do laundry, or any other high energy consumption they may do.


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LisaB
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October 30, 2011 2:00 pm  

I agree with Jumbie. How is everyone turning off power going to make a statement? The impact of the loss of billing for one days' power usage will do very little, and may well backfire. And just think about the crime wave that would invite. Businesses will never comply with that request. They simply can't afford to lose the income (which, by the way, will probably spike from those that DO turn off their own power).

How about we promote one month where EVERYONE pays only the non-LEAC charges of their bill. Now THAT would send a message. What's WAPA going to do...cut power to everyone?

Another option is to organize some form of highly visible and hard-to-ignore protest against WAPA and the government. Perhaps an "Occupy WAPA/Government House" movement on a day when a cruise ship is in port? Or a protest in Fredericksted at the dock? Or picketing on the boardwalk? Lots of other ways to get attention.


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jay
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October 30, 2011 2:35 pm  

It will probably go out that day anyway.......


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pilatesgal318
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October 30, 2011 3:22 pm  

I like LisaB's idea of only paying the non-LEAC on our bill...however my fear is the answer to your question/statement, " What's WAPA going to do...cut power to everyone?" is YES!! That being said, I would be in on that suggestion!


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jbatl
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October 30, 2011 3:46 pm  

I support coordinated action against WAPA 100-percent. I have been told that there are other plans for acts of protest in the works. I will leave it to the organizers to announce them when they are ready to insure they are successful, but they are territory-wide acts.

As for 11/11/11, I have gone back and forth about it, and I'm leaning towards doing it and here's why: The key is that at the end of the day we all go back on to the grid at the same time (I'm not sure what the hours are but the times are posted on the flyer). This, I am told by someone who knows far more about these things than I, could have a catastrophic effect on the grid.

Might be time to buy a generator before there is a run.


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LisaB
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October 30, 2011 3:57 pm  

... could have a catastrophic effect on the grid.

Why would we want to cause catastrophe to the grid? How does that benefit anybody? Personally, I LIKE having electricity. I just want it at a reasonable cost.


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Linda J
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October 30, 2011 7:48 pm  

Also, generating your own power via generator is vastly more expensive than WAPA.


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guice
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October 30, 2011 9:25 pm  

Also, generating your own power via generator is vastly more expensive than WAPA.

Which is currently the only reason WAPA is able to get away with what you're doing.

This, I am told by someone who knows far more about these things than I, could have a catastrophic effect on the grid..

Just what we need: more WAPA blackouts. If you hadn't noticed, WAPA doesn't seem to mind blacking out the island on occasion.


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poorthang
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October 30, 2011 11:35 pm  

They"ll only take longer lunch breaks with nothing to do(td)


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LisaB
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October 31, 2011 11:36 am  

If we were to choose a prime high-season month (January? February?), I doubt WAPA would cut everyone's power; too much chance for tourism backlash and bad press. The key would be to get as many people and businesses as possible to participate so WAPA couldn't single out anyone and turn off just their power.


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Lucy
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October 31, 2011 5:13 pm  

The frustration with the electric rates is with everyone. However, LEAC is the cost paid for fuel oil to run the generators. No LEAC then no fuel then no electric. Now it might be conventient for WAPA to continue to do the same old thing, but they have received quotes for 5 MWe of solar on both STX and STT. But that is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the daily demand at well over 50MWe each island. And they have selected Alpine for the waste-to-energy project, but that was over 2 years ago and not one spade of earth turned over. Why ???

It might not be WAPA's doing? It might be the rest of the VI gov't that is in the way and putting up fences. This may be similar to Occupy Wall Street and protesting against the evil and corrupt banks that took bailout money from the tax payers. But who endorsed this and made it happen. The Government stupid.

So, IMHO, the protest should be directed at the government from the Govenor on down. Only the government can change the actions of WAPA. WAPA will not police itself. The best option would be to sell WAPA to a private utility with strings attached that can be monitored by the PUC. A private utility that is for-profit will streamline things and bring new ideas. This would create a new beginning for the power utility grid in the USVI. Out with the okd and in with the new.


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Neil
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October 31, 2011 5:48 pm  

The problem isn't Wapa. It's with the government. Plans are in process, but some good old-fashioned protests might move them along.

Not paying your bill will likely result in being disconnected.


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GeoTan583
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October 31, 2011 9:08 pm  

I agree, but nothing we do seems to result in any real changes. I doubt any amount of protesting will change the way things are. My bill is KILLING me!!!!


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jay
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November 1, 2011 1:30 am  

Get enough people and have your protest in the street between Havensight and downtown on a day that there are 3 ships in and then the folks cant get back the ship..........anything that effects tourists gets noticed........Or the taxi drivers will kill you because they cant make money.....But without enough people, don't waste your time because it will do nothing to get noticed.....The key is to ensure the roads over there are packed with people..............Just a thought......


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DixieChick
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November 1, 2011 10:46 am  

good thought jay. in the states they are protesting. we need to have big peaceful ralley, stage sit ins etc.
everyone is moaning about the rates but i havent seen any action taken.

i agree that wapa could care less if we all turned our power off on 11/11.
how much does the goverment owe now for their WAPA bill (s).


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jay
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November 1, 2011 12:25 pm  

Not sure how much they owe.....And I still say the power will go out that day anyway.....I remember the year I moved here it went out during the Superbowl.....Service is better now but the price is not so much better
......Speaking of service, remember the IRB said I would get it in Oct....Well.....It's November! Nothing!


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LisaB
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November 1, 2011 1:53 pm  

... LEAC is the cost paid for fuel oil to run the generators.

Yes, but that's not the only expense LEAC pays for. From WAPA's website:
"Costs recovered through the LEAC factor include fuel expenses (current and deferred), purchased water costs (water system only), principal and interest on fuel related indebtedness, fuel hedge costs, regulatory expenses as imposed by the Public Services Commission, and true up costs and/or credit."

My understanding is that when we pay our monthly LEAC, we're also paying to service the $40 million debt to Hovensa from 2008, plus the additional $14 million that WAPA borrowed last year. Let's run some numbers (I'll use St. Croix because it's the island with which I'm most familiar):
St. Croix has roughly 50,000 people.
If each of those 50,000 people pays a $100 monthly LEAC fee, that equals FIVE MILLION DOLLARS per month in LEAC revenue.
And that's just St. Croix.
Now let's be generous and cut that number by one-third, then add in some rough guestimate numbers for STT and STJ.
$3.3 million/month (STX), $2 million (STT), and $1 million (STJ).
That's a generously-guestimated total of $6.3 million in LEAC fees ALONE. Every. Single. Month.

I think some accountability is called for: WAPA, what is your monthly fuel expenditure? What are the loan balances? WAPA, just WHERE is the LEAC money really going?

Anyone on this board know how to acquire this information? If we're going to approach the government, we need information to support our claims and demands.


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Bombi
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November 1, 2011 2:23 pm  

II. Electric System
FY 2010
Estimate
FY 2011
MAY
YTD
FY 2011
Budget
FY 2012
Budget

Sales Revenue-LEAC 175,920 173,888 180,258 273,624
Sales Revenue-Other 78,496 70,834 75,554 76,911
Other Revenue 3,059 2,899 2,695 2,265
Total Revenue 257,475 247,621 258,507 352,800
Fuel Expense 174,228 175,554 171,631 265,884
Labor Expense 36,479 33,006 37,928 36,154
Other Oper. Expense 23,126 23,681 24,389 28,023
Depreciation 19,197 17,464 19,233 22,141
Other Deductions, net 8,067 8,664 4,165 9,282
Total Expenses 261,097 258,369 257,346 361,484
Net Income (Loss) (3,622) (10,748) 1,161 (8,684)

Sales - MWH 759,243 691,395 754,464 767,714
Debt Coverage Ratio
Senior 2.21 1.71 2.20 2.10
Senior and Subordinate 1.84 1.42 1.83 1.74
Total 1.19 0.91 1.16 1.11

http://www.viwapa.vi/Libraries/PDFs/Testimony-Finance_Cmttee-_HHJ-_07_05_2011.sflb.ashx


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Lucy
 Lucy
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November 1, 2011 4:31 pm  

Thanks to Bombi here is the breakdown of LEAC collections versus Fuel Cost.

Revenue-LEAC 175,920 173,888 180,258 273,624 versus
Fuel Expense 174,228 175,554 171,631 265,884

Yes there is some other minor cost recovery in the LEAC but fuel cost is over 95%. So the money goes to WAPA and then goes to HOVENSA. And it appears HOVENSA provided some fuel in past years, on credit.

The problem is, the type of generators that WAPA uses can only run on fuel oil. We can complain till the cows come home, but you can't change the generation equipment overnight. AND solar and wind, just don't run 24/7.

My point is that when there is a postive development to change, like Alpine, the govt entities other than WAPA get in the way. Over 2 years into it and not a spade of dirt turned. And no land lease agreement on the Bovini landfill site. Why ??? This is just one example.


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dxphy
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November 2, 2011 2:24 pm  

i have to agree with Lucy. the government always jumps in the way when new innovation become of interest in the VI. Take for example the broadband VI project as well.


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Neil
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November 3, 2011 1:11 pm  

i have to agree with Lucy. the government always jumps in the way when new innovation become of interest in the VI. Take for example the broadband VI project as well.

The difference there was that the broadband initiative was/is proven technology, was a fraction of the cost of overhauling wapa, had Federal grants, and the rest was easily financed. Would be nice if the Feds dropped a few hundred million on the USVI, but why should they spend that kind of dough on just 120,000 people?

Wapa can self-finance a lot of its overhaul, but the wrong $500 million overhaul of Wapa could produce a white elephant. Two yrs ago the Gov did try a coke fired plant which was shouted down. There is a multi-faceted plan being worked on, some of which needed feasibility studies (such as the cable from the PR). But yes, they need to move it, move it.


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