For the first time since December, the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s electric Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC) rate has been cut, which will save the average customer a little more than $4 on their next bill.
The Public Services Commission’s approval of the cut was not exactly in line with what WAPA originally proposed. According to a filing in September, WAPA had asked for the rate to go from 0.361 to 0.360, but PSC’s advisors, Georgetown Consulting Group, recommended the rate go down further to 0.352, which with WAPA agreed.
PSC members eventually voted on a stipulation that would allow them to go with the Georgetown rate. With the new figures, the average residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours would save $4.23 on their monthly bill, which will be in effect from Oct. 1 to the end of December.
The PSC also decided to postpone the vote on a proposed increase in the water LEAC for two weeks. In its original filing, WAPA requested that the water LEAC be reduced from $14.33 per thousand gallons, to $14.07. But in an amended filing, WAPA asked for the rate to increase to $21.10, which would be a 20 percent increase on the customer’s total monthly bill.
“The lack of efficient steam generation on St. Thomas and the unavailability of RO [reverse osmosis] production on the island is a key to understanding why the water LEAC increased dramatically with the amended filing,” Georgetown Consulting said in a report analyzing WAPA’s proposed LEAC rates. Georgetown has recommended that the water LEAC increase to $19.07 per thousand gallons, which would be an $11.37 increase on the average customer’s monthly bill.
In other WAPA issues, the PSC voted to open a docket for TCG Global LLC, which is applying for qualifying facility status so it can develop a gasification site that would supplement WAPA’s generators with alternative power. According to TCG’s proposal, the company will be selling WAPA power at a “significant discount” equaling 20 to 25 percent of the utility’s avoided costs. Based on WAPA’s published fuel costs for 2009, the rate structure would bring approximately $19 million in savings to WAPA’s customers, according to the presentation.
TCG said their plant can be built on the mainland first to offer local officials the opportunity to see how it works, then disassembled and brought back to the territory.
The PSC gave Georgetown two months to do a technical review of the company and come back with a recommendation on the application.
PSC members attending Tuesday’s meeting were Donald “Ducks” Cole, Sirri Hamad, M. Thomas Jackson, and Elsie Thomas-Trotman. Ex-officio member Alicia “Chucky” Hansen also participated.
Commission member Verne C. David was excused from the meeting for medical reasons.