Unable to assemble a quorum Monday night, Public Services Commission members had to put off voting on an energy development petition and the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s most recent Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC) request.
According to law, the commission must have four members present at any meeting in order to vote. Attending Monday’s meeting on St. Thomas were Donald “Ducks” Cole, M. Thomas Jackson, and Elsie Thomas-Trotman. Cole said that PSC member Verne C. David was unable to attend due to medical issues, while Sirri Hamad was traveling off island.
Cole said the board currently has two vacancies that need to be filled: one left open five years ago after Raymond Williams’s term expired, and a second that opened up approximately two years ago after former PSC chairman Joseph Boschulte resigned. The vacant seats make it hard for the PSC to guarantee a quorum at any time, and carry out its duties, Cole added.
On Monday’s agenda was a petition from Pungitore Energy Development and TCG Global, which are petitioning for qualifying facility status. At a meeting in December, the companies’ representatives proposed building a gasification site that would supplement WAPA’s generators with alternative power.
According to TCG’s proposal, the companies will be selling WAPA power at a “significant discount” equaling 20-25 percent of the utility’s current 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 petition.
At the meeting in September, PSC members decided to stay the matter, giving their consultants two months to do a technical review of the companies and come back with a recommendation on the application.
“That stay, if it hasn’t expired already, will expire shortly after this meeting,” PSC attorney Tanisha Bailey-Roka said Monday night. Bailey-Roka said that if the commission doesn’t act by the end of the two month time frame, the law provides that the petition and request for QF status would automatically be granted.
“The same would apply for the LEAC — when commissioner doesn’t take action, [the] petition would be deemed granted by operation of law,” Bailey-Roka said.
WAPA is requesting a decrease in LEAC rates this time around, which would be in effect Jan. 1 – March 31, 2012.
PSC members called for residents to petition the governor and senators to fill the empty seats on the board.