June 14, 2004 The V.I. Water and Power Authority Monday celebrated the opening of its more spacious office at the Lumberyard shopping complex.
"This new office is a symbol of the authority's commitment to make our corporate motto, 'WAPA working for you', a reality," WAPA Director Alberto Bruno-Vega said.
The two customer service representatives, Sherece Smith and Leona Thomas, were on hand to welcome the first customer to the new office. That customer, "WAPA family elder" Enid Hendricks, served 28 years as WAPA's senior customer service representative in St. John until her retirement several years ago.
The new office, housed along the road past the Boulon Center, is located where Nancy D'Anna and Paula Lambert had offices. It has pale yellow walls and good lighting.
While parking is always tight in Cruz Bay, Michael Quetel, WAPA manager, promised that the authority would work with the landlord to ensure that the three parking spaces in front of the office would be available for WAPA customers.
Quetel, taking a reporter on a tour, pointed out the many features of the new office. The office has a ramp to make it easy for wheelchair bound customers to enter the office. The old office was up a long flight of stairs, which meant only the fit could get there.
"I was getting disgusted running up those steps all the time," Julien Harley, St. John Administrator, said.
The new office has a conference room, rest rooms, a kitchen for WAPA staff, offices for staff that visits from St. Thomas, and room for the two customer service representatives to work.
"We needed bigger facilities," Smith said.
Quetel said that despite increased use of online banking to pay bills, WAPA has many electric and water customers that still pay in person with cash. He didn't anticipate that would change although WAPA customers can now pay with a credit card at – www.viwapa.vi .
Bruno-Vega said in his opening remarks that customers may also use the Web site to ask WAPA staff questions.
He said that the line staff would continue to work out of WAPA's Silver Arrow generator location across from the Public Works Department's wastewater treatment plant.
Darryl Lynch, who serves as WAPA board director and once worked as a WAPA cashier, said that the need for a new office reflected St. John's growth.
Harley agreed, noting that he's always pushed to get St. John the same level of services as St. Thomas and St. Croix.
The WAPA office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Call the office at 776-6446.
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