Oct. 17, 2003 – The Water and Power Authority governing board will soon elect a new chair, and Carol Burke, who has served in that position for the last four years, will join the ranks of WAPA executive employees.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull announced on Thursday that he has nominated Yolander Samuel-Deterville, a St. Croix Certified Public Accountant, to a three-year term on the WAPA governing board to replace Burke, whose term has expired.
Burke said at a retreat the utility board held last month that she was considering taking a position in the company when she went off the board. She will become WAPA's director of corporate services, according to a report in Friday's Avis newspaper. Efforts to reach her for comment on Friday were unsuccessful.
Alberto Bruno-Vega, WAPA executive director, said on Friday that he could not comment on Burke's new position, and that it would be up to her or the board to do so. He said he had not seen the Government House release announcing the nomination, so he was not officially aware of the appointment of Samuel-Deterville. (See 5 nominated to terms on UVI, WAPA boards".)
Bruno-Vega also said on Friday that differences between WAPA and the Public Services Commission remain unresolved. At its Thursday meeting, the board authorized him to add to a petition seeking a declaratory judgment against the PSC that WAPA filed earlier in Territorial Court.
"We continue to have differences regarding the PSC's authority over WAPA's operation. Because of that, the board requested that we expand the appeal," Bruno-Vega said. "We are at a point of demarcation." (See "PSC, WAPA officials trade accusations".)
In the 50 states, only "a handful" of municipal utilities are under the jurisdiction of public regulatory agencies, he said. Such agencies "are there to govern the private utilities, primarily," he said.
Bruno-Vega lamented what he sees as the absurdity of two government-constituted boards being at odds with each other. "With WAPA, you have a nine-member board appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate, and with the PSC you have a seven-member board appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate," he pointed out. He said he hopes via the court case clear up the jurisdictional conflicts.
Other board action
In other business on Thursday, the WAPA board voted to seek legislation to strengthen V.I. law dealing with the theft of utility services. The board wants to see an increase in the penalties for meter tampering and theft, although the actions would remain misdemeanors.
WAPA wants to retain its right to impose administrative fines and to back-bill customers for the theft of utility services. (See "For WAPA, a year of successes, unresolved issues".)
The board also approved resolutions authorizing:
– Lines of credit with Banco Popular and FirstBank for up to $25 million for the electrical system and $5 million for the water system.
– A $335,858 six-month contract with George A. Farrelly Security & Consultant Services to provide armed security for WAPA facilities.
– A $230,065 contract with Majestic Construction to construct, install and repair electric duct banks and risers with manholes, and to construct an extension of the St. Thomas East End substation.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name, and the city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.