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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesBusinesswoman Clarke Recounts Her Sad WAPA Saga

Businesswoman Clarke Recounts Her Sad WAPA Saga

Dear Source,
Well, it's really too bad that Mr. Alberto Bruno-Vega has to beg the Government of the Virgin Islands to pay its huge outstanding debt and I think it's just too bad that the Water and Power Authority doesn't cut power to the nonessential government offices to make their point. Because of course they are very quick to shut off power to private-sector businesses, and right now I'm seething.
On June 14 I was writing cheques and realized that I hadn't received a bill from WAPA. I called and was given the amount due, wrote the cheque and mailed it out on June 17. A few days later I received in the mail both the original bill and a late notice but knowing I had paid the bill, didn't worry about either of them.
On June 28 the power to my business was disconnected. I called WAPA and was told that my cheque hadn't been received. I spoke to numerous people at WAPA but the bottom line was that I had to arrange for payment to be sent down to WAPA by hand immediately along with a $50 reconnection fee. I arranged for this to be done and my power was finally reconnected late afternoon. I spoke to Mr. Michael Quetel at WAPA and he asked me if I could write down this experience and E-Fax it to him which I immediately did. I received no response from him.
On July 8, a WAPA customer service representative called me to advise that my cheque had finally reached WAPA. She confirmed that the envelope was properly addressed to WAPA and had indeed been mailed on June 17. Where it had been for three weeks was anybody's guess but she asked if the cheque could be deposited toward my current account. Since my current bill wasn't yet due (and I hadn't yet received it) I told her I would call her on the following Monday once I'd had a chance to check my account balance. On the following Monday I called her and said that she could indeed deposit the check.
On July 15, I wrote to Mr. Quetel again and asked him that, given the circumstances, would he please refund the $50 reconnection charge. Again there was no response from him.
On July 27, WAPA was once again at my business to disconnect my service. I called WAPA and was told to give the man a cheque for $108.84 to avoid disconnection and this I did. Two days later, I found a regular WAPA bill in my mailbox together with a late notice indicating that I was in arrears for $83.84. Obviously the additional $25 I paid to the WAPA meter reader was for some sort of service rendered or for my giving him a cheque since he neither disconnected or reconnected my service.
Oh indeed, I am seething. My monthly WAPA bill is around $600 and first I'm forced to pay a reconnection fee for nonpayment when my cheque miraculously appeared three weeks later properly addressed and postmarked, then I am threatened with imminent cutoff for a mere $83.84 (hey, didn¹t I pay a deposit when the account was opened ten years ago?)
Mr. Quetel asked me to write him and I did so twice with no response.
But of course the "catch" is that I'm on a main road with easy meter accessibility. If I were located in a private residence way up a winding hill and through some bush I very much doubt that my service would be cut off so hastily.
Customer service? HAH! Is there any WAPA person out there who'd like to respond? Any Senator whodd like to respond? I really would like my $75 back.
Anna Clarke
St. Thomas

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