WAPA Base rate increase
From today’s Source:
In fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the authority received approximately $94 million in Community Disaster Loans to help sustain operations, but this source of funding is no longer available.
“From a financial standpoint, WAPA continues to experience an operating deficit as its rates, set by the PSC before the 2017 hurricanes, simply do not provide the level of funding needed for WAPA to meet its post-hurricane operational costs,” said WAPA CEO Lawrence Kupfer. “During this time, the authority has maintained a tight control over expenses and currently expects that FY 2019 expenses will be $30 million lower than originally budgeted. Further, since 2016, WAPA has brought additional leased generating units on-line, purchased new generation, and fully activated LPG operations in both districts. The rate requests to cover the additional costs associated with these improvements have not been granted.”
Kupfer explained that the base rate increase being sought by the authority is for a specific period of time.
“Over the next 12 to 18 months as we add yet more efficient new generators complete with battery storage, as we add some 15 megawatts of solar renewables to the grid, also with battery storage, our customers will begin to see a reduction in the LEAC and base rates,” he said. “The LEAC represents the costs of fuel WAPA purchases to generate electricity. We will be burning more of the lower-cost propane, adding more renewables and using less No. 2 oil to meet customer demand for service.”
For a customer averaging monthly consumption of 400 kilowatt hours per month, the base rate increase will average $38.45 per month, while a customer utilizing 250 kilowatt hours or less per month will see an increase of $23.69 per month.
I keep hoping WAPA will improve, but I’ve decided to go with a partial solar system for the addition I’m building. From a financial point of view, savings aren’t substantial (pay now with solar or over the long haul with WAPA), but a steady dependable supply is the big difference. If power supply to the island was dependable & consistent, I think I might be able to justify WAPA’s prices.
The government owes WAPA millions. The government owns WAPA.
Its a recipe for disaster
Your WAPA charges are essentially a hidden tax. You pay for the government's unpaid utilities' usage each month through your WAPA bill. If the government collected enough taxes to pay its WAPA obligation, property and other taxes would soar but you might have a lower electric bill.
WAPA charges are a regressive tax as well since the less income you have, the greater effect your high utility bill has on your personal finances.
My best investment on the island has been solar power combined with Tesla batteries. It is a NO BRAINER if you have a house and roof with east sout east exposure. I am completely WAPA independent and while I keep net metering mostly to swap/give away excess energy.
While the project is expensive the feds offered substantial tax credits that lowered costs by 30%. Further savings come from no need for generator, fuel, maintenance and elimination of additional sources of pollution. The technology is backed by 10 years warranty and so far has been bullet proof, survived two hurricanes. By my calculations the break even point is about 5-7 years here in VI. The other aspect of this investment is confidence that when I come back home from the trip my freezer is frozen and my lights come on. With so many things that go wrong living here this peace of mind is priceless. If I ever decide to sell the house I will definitely get my money back.
To be real honest I am <fill in with your own dirty word> SICK of WAPA excuses. Why didnt they work on a way YRS ago to try and upgrade the generating plants to something that was more efficient, maintance for them is worked into the bills. They blame the government for not paying bills, FINE do what they would do to anyone else for nonpayment, if its non essential cut em off. They blame the fossil fuel market, they blame the refinery for closing and fuel going up, the most recient blame is the exodus of people from the storms. The only answer that they have is to continue to burden the people of the Virgin Islands with increasing rates. Rates went up to pay for propane and solar with the idea that they would go down, HASNT HAPPENED. The most criminal thing lately is they got the .03$ temp increase from PSC and now want to petition for a additional .06, or "blackouts are coming", TRANSLATED : we cant effeciently run a utility or spend responsibly so we will use the time honored tactic of fearmongering and borderline strongarm tactics which we used in the past to get more money that we will piss away while keeping rates among the highest in the US. This is beyond unacceptable and is something that is long overdue in being addressed. Goverment inaction is allowing this BS to continue....
Here is WAPA's press release that discusses current increases and planned improvements.