Interestingly enough, I was not at all surprised by the display of appeasement and acquiescence on behalf of the PSC, in granting WAPA Carte Blanche to the ratepayers' pocketbooks. Was this meeting public? Was the meeting announced beforehand? And what about the financial burden that it imposes on some of our citizens?
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Let's explore some of the reactions to the action at hand. Many of our citizens are yet one step closer to not being able to pay their bills. Many of our businesses will be that one step closer to dissolution. What about the single parent family that just barely makes ends meet? In their home, a struggling parent tries to keep their children off the streets; by studying and using the internet–what happens now? Now that Mom or Dad has to keep an increased leash on the electric bill- now these kids will be out on the streets– the mean streets.
Now for a dose of fiscal and financial responsibility. How many private business concerns extend 40 million dollars worth of interest free credit? Good Luck finding a private business concern which will give 6 million dollars worth of interest free past due forgiveness, "Hurricane Hovensa" Why? Because fiscal and financial responsibility on behalf of an autonomous government agency are the order of the day? What other business concern would furnish finished product at crude price and then wait for months to get paid? Ask some of the other suppliers if they would entertain this kind of business.
I am advocating this: that every last financial record with regard to the LEAC and WAPA's Operating Expenses be made fully public, preferably by newspaper supplement. Further, that the salaries and all "perks" of the WAPA Management and Board (inclusive of travel) also be made public; How much of the LEAC goes toward present delivered fuel costs and how much is WAPA charging the ratepayer "to catch up"? And that all of the reported 14 RFP's with related to providing WAPA with Electrical Energy be made fully public and transparent, along with the disposition of each of the RFP's and method and reasons of selection. Transparency must abound.
I fully applaud the efforts of Senator Weber and his colleagues to pay down the Government's WAPA arrears–this is clearly a milestone. It is level heading thinking like this that will keep our lights turned on.
In closing, I am fearful for my fellow citizens should the PSC grant WAPA another increase and/or the "automatic LEAC" that WAPA has been clamoring for, now emboldened by their recent success at rate hikes then I feel that we should look toward the possibility of changing the WAPA Executive Management and Board toward those who will produce results instead of continued financial burden. Lets all come together; to help stop this financial madness which is threatening to return our Territory to the "Dark Ages".
Joseph P. Stropole
Fredriksted, St. Croix
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