“We are in a true crisis regarding our energy system.” Governor Albert Bryan met with the VI Legislature for a special meeting Saturday morning, to try to avert an energy crisis on the Islands.
During a conference call with the media Saturday, following that emergency meeting, Governor Bryan says they are working together to come up with a “long-term plan to ensure reliable and affordable power service on the Islands.”
This comes after WAPA’s fuel supplier, Vitol, said the utility did not pay its bills, so in turn it would suspend propane deliveries to the island.
Governor Bryan revealed that past due bill is more than $3 million.
To help catch up on its bills, WAPA petitioned the Public Utility Commission to increase consumer bills to a whopping .57 cents per kilowatt-hour, that is something Governor Bryan says they are diligently working to avoid, “WAPA has created a state of fear and lack of confidence among it’s customers.”
Bryan says they are meeting again on Monday to try and come up with a unified way to move forward.
In the short-term, Governor Bryan says WAPA has agreed to take steps to address billing issues over the past several months.
Customers’ bills were being estimated and have been way out of proportion. So, WAPA has committed to adding customer service representatives to work on the weekends to address these billing concerns, as well as eventually adding more electric meter readers to ensure consumers are not getting ripped off.
As far as declaring a state of emergency over this energy crisis, Governor Bryan tells USVI News that is not something he is considering, as it would not provide any tools to help the situation.
WAPA is a government-owned utility, and is the primary source of water and power production and distribution in the US territory. Its outrageous rate increases overtime have left residents and businesses struggling to pay their bills.