I was in New York last week and saw an article in the local paper. The headline said "Long Islander to See a 3% Hike in Electric Bill." It went on to say that the typical customer uses 775 kilowatt a month and pays $150.33 and that after the raise, the bill will increase by $4.44 bringing the total to $154.77.
Anyway, I asked a few of my friends there how they felt about this and most of them said this was acceptable due to the increase in the cost of fuel. So I asked how they would the feel if they got a 40% raise in their electric bill. Most said that would be crazy; who would ask for that? When I explained that our electric company, Virgin Islands Water And Power Authority had originally asked for that amount, they were dumfounded. When I told them that the Public Service Commission granted them a 22% raise on top of a 20% raise they received some months ago, they asked, "How do the people there afford it?" I also mentioned that we have an oil refinery on St Croix and that unlike Long Island Power Authority (their electric company), WAPA did not hedge the price of oil when they saw oil moving up rapidly in price. Unlike WAPA, LIPA will spend 10 million dollars in reserve funds to help low income senior citizens with their electric bills, and has plans to provide 140 million dollars in assistance over a 30 month period to all residences and small businesses.
Where are our cash reserves? I guess it is in the 20 million plus dollars that the government is in arrears on their WAPA bills.
Albert E. Willis
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