Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen said Tuesday the recently approved increase in the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause puts the territory on an energy path that is unsustainable, and stepped up efforts to obtain federal help for the territory.
On Monday the Public Service Commission approved a 25 percent increase in the LEAC, which is what the Water and Power Authority charges consumers for the cost of the fuel to generate electricity. This will result in an average increase of about 19 percent on power bills.
“As a resident of the Virgin Islands who pays the monthly costs, I understand the pain that my constituents, residents and businesses are experiencing at the thought of yet another increase that their already stressed and stretched budgets cannot afford,” Christensen said in a statement issued by her office in Washington D.C.
“This summer, I called on the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Interior for emergency help, and I am continuing to meet with them, our local officials and V.I. WAPA officials on relief in the short term and on their assistance to help us transition to renewable and cheaper sources of fuel,” Congresswoman Christensen said. “Some meetings are scheduled for this week and in October,” she said.
Christensen noted that Hovensa, which closed its oil refinery earlier this year, is adamant about not allowing other suppliers to use its port and storage facility, when some have said they can supply cheaper and cleaner fuel. Calling the territory’s position “extremely precarious,” Christensen called that position is "tantamount to holding us all hostage.”
“There is no more important issue for all of us in elected office to address as this energy crisis that threatens our economic future,” Congresswoman Christensen said.