During the recent PSC meeting concerning WAPA rates, Hugo Hodge Jr. said the request for a higher adjustment in the energy clause was directly related to higher fuel prices. He went on to say it was also based on lower consumption of water and power by consumers. That statement is troubling.
The average consumer is cutting down on electrical use, and those who can, are installing solar or wind. Several businesses have closed in the last year citing WAPA rates as the main culprit. Are we now being told by WAPA, cutting back on usage and making an investment to reduce personal use of WAPA, is resulting in increased base rates? Those who are installing solar and wind are taking their savings and giving the need for revenue to the consumers who cannot afford to spend the money on these devices. Clearly the PSC and the WAPA board are not looking out for the consumer. If revenues are trending 'down', WAPA should do what private business owners do, lay off some workers, cut useless overtime and evaluate the personal use of vehicles and vehicles themselves, freeze wages, have supervisors sitting behind a desk get out in the field to reduce overtime, or actually analyze and supervise what costs can be eliminated.
PSC consultant Jim Madden was quoted saying at the PSC meeting, we need an increase in 'electrical LEAC' due to 'sales being significantly down six to ten percent what they were a year ago, coupled with the rise in fuel prices'. Now, we have all been led to believe, the only thing affecting LEAC increases and the only thing LEAC is used for is the price of oil. It would appear the LEAC is also used for 'other revenue shortfalls' such as meeting payroll or buying new vehicles or maybe the office luncheon. Who knows, since at this point a true management audit has yet to reveal what exactly WAPA spends it's money on and we will not know for at least 18 months, minimum.
As far as the PSC is concerned, members voting for the increase Cole, David, Boschulte and Jackson (Sirri Hamad has not attended a PSC meeting in over a year) are simply not looking out for the consumer, to have allowed anything other than a fuel increase in the
LEAC formula be passed on to the consumer. The sole person who stood up to vote no was Trotman. As far as the WAPA board is concerned, the public needs a full audit. No smoke and mirrors allowed. And exactly just where are those RFP's promised over 6 month's ago at?
Wake up VI, we are again being scammed out of our hard earned money by the people who are there to serve and protect us.
Christiansted, St. Croix
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to email@example.com.