85.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPSC Votes to Hear Power Dispute

PSC Votes to Hear Power Dispute

Feb. 26, 2009 — A back-and-forth dispute between Tutu Park Mall and the V.I. Water and Power Authority took a twist Thursday as Public Services Commission members voted to bring arguments over a proposed interconnection agreement into the legal arena.
Last October the PSC certified the mall as a small power provider, or qualifying facility, which put it one step closer to being able to operate two 50-kilowatt wind turbines — leased from Earth, Wind and Power — at its site on St. Thomas. An interconnection agreement with WAPA, which would allow the mall to hook into the utility's power grid, was to be hammered out within 60 days, both parties decided. (See "Wind Power Coming to Tutu Park Mall.")
While the turbines have since been installed, an interconnection agreement has yet to be finalized, according to attorney Emily Sabo — representing both Earth, Wind and Power and Green Power Electric — who spoke at Thursday's PSC meeting.
"We're down to two or three open issues," she said, adding that the agreement had been circulated back and forth for months. "There's a sense that we're churning, and we don't feel at this point that a resolution is very likely. The issues here are not remaining very narrow."
While WAPA's attorney contended that the negotiations seemed to be progressing, utility head Hugo Hodge Jr. said that he had been in support of the interconnection, and had been "disheartened" to hear that the PSC had granted the mall qualifying facility status during a workshop in which WAPA officials were not present.
Sabo suggested that the "time is right" for the PSC to make a decision, but commission attorney Tanisha Bailey-Roka recommended that the PSC "follow the law" and have an evidentiary hearing to settle the matter.
"This is subject to judicial review," Bailey-Roka said. "Everyone treated this matter as, the first step in the process was negotiations and the PSC's role was to come in at the end and settle everything. My recommendation to the commission was to stop — we are acting in violation of our own statutes. We're now at the end of February, and we haven't got an agreement between the parties in place — we have to do so now through an evidentiary hearing."
Board members agreed and unanimously adopted the recommendation.
Meanwhile, board members got an earful from V.I. Energy Office Director Bevan Smith, who campaigned for the PSC to put in place a permanent net metering program for the territory. Two years ago, the PSC gave WAPA and the Energy Office the go-ahead to develop a net-metering standard that would allow ratepayers who create their own renewable energy through wind or solar power generation to donate their excess net energy to WAPA at the end of each month, with a cap on how much power a producer could donate.
Under the current standard the amount of power given to WAPA can not exceed five megawatts (or 5,000 kilowatts) on St. Croix and 10 megawatts (or 10,000 kilowatts) on St. Thomas-St. John.
Smith said the Energy Office would like to see the limit increased for residential and small commercial customers, along with larger government facilities and schools.
"Many small businesses would have liked to participate in the program, but the 10-megawatt limit would only allow for an insignificant reduction in their bills," he said. "Increasing the limit…would greatly increase participation in the program. Government facilities such as public schools can greatly reduce their debt to the utility if (larger) systems…are allowed to participate."
A bill dubbed the V.I. Renewable and Alternative Energy Act of 2009 is expected to come before the Senate's Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection in the "very near future," Smith added. The bill proposes to set a net metering limit of 20 kilowatts for residential customers and 100 kilowatts for commercial customers.
Meanwhile, board members said they would be acting on WAPA's recent petition to reduce Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC) rates within the next couple of weeks, after they had finished going through an analysis of the proposed numbers. (See "WAPA Board Pushing For Another LEAC Reduction.")
PSC members present during Thursday's meeting were Joseph Boschulte, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Verne C. David, M. Thomas Jackson, Elsie Thomas-Trotman and ex-officio member Sen. Patrick Simeon Sprauve.

Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,753FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Feb. 26, 2009 -- A back-and-forth dispute between Tutu Park Mall and the V.I. Water and Power Authority took a twist Thursday as Public Services Commission members voted to bring arguments over a proposed interconnection agreement into the legal arena.
Last October the PSC certified the mall as a small power provider, or qualifying facility, which put it one step closer to being able to operate two 50-kilowatt wind turbines -- leased from Earth, Wind and Power -- at its site on St. Thomas. An interconnection agreement with WAPA, which would allow the mall to hook into the utility's power grid, was to be hammered out within 60 days, both parties decided. (See "Wind Power Coming to Tutu Park Mall.")
While the turbines have since been installed, an interconnection agreement has yet to be finalized, according to attorney Emily Sabo -- representing both Earth, Wind and Power and Green Power Electric -- who spoke at Thursday's PSC meeting.
"We're down to two or three open issues," she said, adding that the agreement had been circulated back and forth for months. "There's a sense that we're churning, and we don't feel at this point that a resolution is very likely. The issues here are not remaining very narrow."
While WAPA's attorney contended that the negotiations seemed to be progressing, utility head Hugo Hodge Jr. said that he had been in support of the interconnection, and had been "disheartened" to hear that the PSC had granted the mall qualifying facility status during a workshop in which WAPA officials were not present.
Sabo suggested that the "time is right" for the PSC to make a decision, but commission attorney Tanisha Bailey-Roka recommended that the PSC "follow the law" and have an evidentiary hearing to settle the matter.
"This is subject to judicial review," Bailey-Roka said. "Everyone treated this matter as, the first step in the process was negotiations and the PSC's role was to come in at the end and settle everything. My recommendation to the commission was to stop -- we are acting in violation of our own statutes. We're now at the end of February, and we haven't got an agreement between the parties in place -- we have to do so now through an evidentiary hearing."
Board members agreed and unanimously adopted the recommendation.
Meanwhile, board members got an earful from V.I. Energy Office Director Bevan Smith, who campaigned for the PSC to put in place a permanent net metering program for the territory. Two years ago, the PSC gave WAPA and the Energy Office the go-ahead to develop a net-metering standard that would allow ratepayers who create their own renewable energy through wind or solar power generation to donate their excess net energy to WAPA at the end of each month, with a cap on how much power a producer could donate.
Under the current standard the amount of power given to WAPA can not exceed five megawatts (or 5,000 kilowatts) on St. Croix and 10 megawatts (or 10,000 kilowatts) on St. Thomas-St. John.
Smith said the Energy Office would like to see the limit increased for residential and small commercial customers, along with larger government facilities and schools.
"Many small businesses would have liked to participate in the program, but the 10-megawatt limit would only allow for an insignificant reduction in their bills," he said. "Increasing the limit...would greatly increase participation in the program. Government facilities such as public schools can greatly reduce their debt to the utility if (larger) systems...are allowed to participate."
A bill dubbed the V.I. Renewable and Alternative Energy Act of 2009 is expected to come before the Senate's Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection in the "very near future," Smith added. The bill proposes to set a net metering limit of 20 kilowatts for residential customers and 100 kilowatts for commercial customers.
Meanwhile, board members said they would be acting on WAPA's recent petition to reduce Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC) rates within the next couple of weeks, after they had finished going through an analysis of the proposed numbers. (See "WAPA Board Pushing For Another LEAC Reduction.")
PSC members present during Thursday's meeting were Joseph Boschulte, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Verne C. David, M. Thomas Jackson, Elsie Thomas-Trotman and ex-officio member Sen. Patrick Simeon Sprauve.

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.