The V.I. Water and Power Authority board authorized $3.3 million Monday to contract Kerite Cable Services to install and test a more than three mile long submarine power transmission cable to Frank Bay, St. John.
The cable is intended to increase the reliability of power to the island. It is expected to last 30 years and replace the existing 2/0 cable, which will now be used as a backup.
The cable will run from a circuit breaker in the East End Substation on St. Thomas to make it less prone to tripping.
The board also approved an 18-month contract with Asplundh Tree Expert Co. worth nearly $1.3 million. Asplundh will be responsible for making sure bushes and shrubbery on all three islands do not interfere with the power lines. Language in the original contract stated that the company could use chemical spraying to remove vines and other weeds, but since the company has never used chemicals and doesn’t plan to in the future, the board agreed to take out the provision that gives them the leeway to do so.
Board member Donald Francois was concerned about whether any local companies sent in a bid for the work. WAPA Director of Transmission and Distribution Clinton Hendrington said that Bryan’s Electric sent in a bid, but it was higher than that of Asplundh.
Finally, the board approved a measure to clarify a section of WAPA’s policies and procedures handbook dealing with grievance procedures for employees. It was noted during the meeting that when dealing with a recent disciplinary measure, officials discovered that there were two versions of the policy, one from 1993 and another from 1997.
The 1993 version said that managers and directors could appeal their grievances to the governing board after a decision is made by the executive director. The 1997 version, which the board has been using and made standard Monday, says that only WAPA officers, such as the executive director, chief financial officer, chief operating officer and legal counsel can appeal to the board.
Board members present at the meeting were Wayne Biggs, Francois, Gerald Groner, Kenneth Hermon, Noel Loftus and Juanita Young.