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Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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WAPA Looking at Prospective Fuel Suppliers

With Hovensa closing its doors, V.I. Water and Power Authority board members sat down to discuss their fuel options Thursday, and said that the possibility of bringing some solar onto the grid might alleviate some of the stress.

At a meeting on St. Thomas, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. gave an update on the utility’s search for a solar company that would provide 10 megawatts of power to the territory. The authority issued a request for proposals for a solar provider last year, and Hodge said that he has been interviewing some of the short-listed bidders.

“We expect to be able to complete this process by June, with negotiations being completed by April, and approval from the Public Services Commission by June,” Hodge said. If all goes according to plan, the authority will have the first group of solar panels on the ground and hooked up by the first quarter of 2013, Hodge added.

Until then, WAPA has more than 12 companies that have shown interest in supplying the authority with fuel. While WAPA has not had to look for a fuel supplier in 40 years, Hodge said he is confident someone will come through, and asked residents to stop panicking.

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“We have a lot of good leads, and I believe that we will have no problem securing a fuel supply by the June 30 deadline, which is the last day for receiving deliveries from Hovensa,” he said.

On a more positive note, water rationing ended on St. Thomas last Friday, and at this point, WAPA’s water supply is at 40 percent. Hodge said the authority hopes to get its new reverse osmosis plants up and running at full storage capacity – 35 million gallons – within about a month. At this point, WAPA has approximately 14 million gallons in storage “and climbing,” board members said.

Looking at its agenda, the WAPA board approved $239,111 for Electric Supply of Tampa to provide electrical material for the authority’s Market Square underground project, which will eventually involve burying all of WAPA’s lines from Market Square to Post Office Square. Funds approved Thursday will cover the section from Market Square to the Enid Baa Library, and should take about 45 days to complete.

The board also:

– Approved a change order that would stretch the completion date for the Anna’s Hope Waterline Rehabilitation until May 4, 2012; once the project is finished, it will improve the efficiency of the water distribution system Anna’s Hope area on St. Croix;

– Authorized Hodge to dispose of any property owned by the authority that is not currently needed, including damaged office furniture, old poles and transformers and used computers. Previously, such decisions would require approval from the full board;

– Approved an extra $220,000 for WAPA’s stack testing project at Richmond Power Plant, for a total approved amount of $625,000. The additional will help WAPA comply with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order, and meet permitting local Planning and Natural Resources Title V requirements for emissions;

– Authorized Hodge to extend for a month – for the period of January 31 through March 1 – the authority’s liability insurance coverage with Tunick Insurance for a premium of $109,465. Hodge said WAPA continues to have several large liability claims, which have pushed the authority’s deductible up from $200,000 to $500,000;

– Approved emergency inspection and repairs for the Unit #13 steam turbine, which would allow the unit to return to operation and to increase power generation capacity at the Randolph Harley Power Plant.

Board members present during Thursday’s meeting were: Juanita Young, Gerald Groner, Noel Loftus, Wayne Biggs, Alicia Barnes, Karl Knight, Cheryl Boynes-Jackson, Brenda Benjamin, and Donald Francois.

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With Hovensa closing its doors, V.I. Water and Power Authority board members sat down to discuss their fuel options Thursday, and said that the possibility of bringing some solar onto the grid might alleviate some of the stress.

At a meeting on St. Thomas, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. gave an update on the utility’s search for a solar company that would provide 10 megawatts of power to the territory. The authority issued a request for proposals for a solar provider last year, and Hodge said that he has been interviewing some of the short-listed bidders.

“We expect to be able to complete this process by June, with negotiations being completed by April, and approval from the Public Services Commission by June,” Hodge said. If all goes according to plan, the authority will have the first group of solar panels on the ground and hooked up by the first quarter of 2013, Hodge added.

Until then, WAPA has more than 12 companies that have shown interest in supplying the authority with fuel. While WAPA has not had to look for a fuel supplier in 40 years, Hodge said he is confident someone will come through, and asked residents to stop panicking.

“We have a lot of good leads, and I believe that we will have no problem securing a fuel supply by the June 30 deadline, which is the last day for receiving deliveries from Hovensa,” he said.

On a more positive note, water rationing ended on St. Thomas last Friday, and at this point, WAPA’s water supply is at 40 percent. Hodge said the authority hopes to get its new reverse osmosis plants up and running at full storage capacity – 35 million gallons – within about a month. At this point, WAPA has approximately 14 million gallons in storage “and climbing,” board members said.

Looking at its agenda, the WAPA board approved $239,111 for Electric Supply of Tampa to provide electrical material for the authority’s Market Square underground project, which will eventually involve burying all of WAPA’s lines from Market Square to Post Office Square. Funds approved Thursday will cover the section from Market Square to the Enid Baa Library, and should take about 45 days to complete.

The board also:

– Approved a change order that would stretch the completion date for the Anna’s Hope Waterline Rehabilitation until May 4, 2012; once the project is finished, it will improve the efficiency of the water distribution system Anna’s Hope area on St. Croix;

– Authorized Hodge to dispose of any property owned by the authority that is not currently needed, including damaged office furniture, old poles and transformers and used computers. Previously, such decisions would require approval from the full board;

– Approved an extra $220,000 for WAPA’s stack testing project at Richmond Power Plant, for a total approved amount of $625,000. The additional will help WAPA comply with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order, and meet permitting local Planning and Natural Resources Title V requirements for emissions;

– Authorized Hodge to extend for a month – for the period of January 31 through March 1 – the authority’s liability insurance coverage with Tunick Insurance for a premium of $109,465. Hodge said WAPA continues to have several large liability claims, which have pushed the authority’s deductible up from $200,000 to $500,000;

– Approved emergency inspection and repairs for the Unit #13 steam turbine, which would allow the unit to return to operation and to increase power generation capacity at the Randolph Harley Power Plant.

Board members present during Thursday’s meeting were: Juanita Young, Gerald Groner, Noel Loftus, Wayne Biggs, Alicia Barnes, Karl Knight, Cheryl Boynes-Jackson, Brenda Benjamin, and Donald Francois.