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Monday, August 8, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWAPA Receives RUS Loan to Enhance Operational Efficiency

WAPA Receives RUS Loan to Enhance Operational Efficiency

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) has received approval for a loan from the Rural Utility Services (RUS) Program in the amount of $13 million to fund the deployment of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distribution Automation (DA) projects.
RUS is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides funding through grants, loans, loan guarantees and payments for the development of rural utilities infrastructure such as water, waste management, power and telecommunications. The program functions of the RUS are divided into three operating units: water and waste, electric, and telecommunications, each led by an assistant administrator. The administrator and staff concentrate on the financial details of individual RUS projects, and these three operating units provide the engineering and technical personnel to plan and execute projects.
WAPA had been monitoring the development of the AMI/DA programs for the last eight years to ensure they were the best systems to help it advance technologically. The AMI system will replace WAPA’s mechanical meters with new AMI meters. The project is an essential part of addressing some of the challenges the utility faces to improve operational efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, reduce energy theft and improve the billing process. It will implement meter reading from the office allowing customer service representatives to have the information at their fingertips, reduce meter tampering and quickly identify faults in the system. It will also lay the communications ground work for a smart grid to allow customers to control costs by monitoring real time energy usage in their homes and businesses.
The DA program will directly address reliability improvement of the electric grid by having equipment proactively sense the condition of the grid and then communicate with the SCADA system and technicians in the dispatch center. The software and hardware will then make smart switching decisions while re-routing the electric flow from an outage feeder to an energized feeder.
As part of the application process, the governing board first approved the submission of 1) a “Long Range Plan,” which is a five-year capital improvement plan for the electrical division; 2) the work plan for core electric, DA, AMI and communications infrastructure and related environmental report; 3) “VIWAPA Load Projections/Load Forecast,” which is an evaluation of the authority’s load growth.
“I would really like to thank Gov. John P. DeJongh Jr. and Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christiansen for their hard work and diligence in making this come to fruition for the authority,” said Executive Director Hodge V. Hodge Jr. He noted that both officials had met with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and were instrumental in ensuring that the territory was included in this program, which will benefit the authority’s customers.

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The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) has received approval for a loan from the Rural Utility Services (RUS) Program in the amount of $13 million to fund the deployment of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distribution Automation (DA) projects.
RUS is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides funding through grants, loans, loan guarantees and payments for the development of rural utilities infrastructure such as water, waste management, power and telecommunications. The program functions of the RUS are divided into three operating units: water and waste, electric, and telecommunications, each led by an assistant administrator. The administrator and staff concentrate on the financial details of individual RUS projects, and these three operating units provide the engineering and technical personnel to plan and execute projects.
WAPA had been monitoring the development of the AMI/DA programs for the last eight years to ensure they were the best systems to help it advance technologically. The AMI system will replace WAPA’s mechanical meters with new AMI meters. The project is an essential part of addressing some of the challenges the utility faces to improve operational efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, reduce energy theft and improve the billing process. It will implement meter reading from the office allowing customer service representatives to have the information at their fingertips, reduce meter tampering and quickly identify faults in the system. It will also lay the communications ground work for a smart grid to allow customers to control costs by monitoring real time energy usage in their homes and businesses.
The DA program will directly address reliability improvement of the electric grid by having equipment proactively sense the condition of the grid and then communicate with the SCADA system and technicians in the dispatch center. The software and hardware will then make smart switching decisions while re-routing the electric flow from an outage feeder to an energized feeder.
As part of the application process, the governing board first approved the submission of 1) a “Long Range Plan,” which is a five-year capital improvement plan for the electrical division; 2) the work plan for core electric, DA, AMI and communications infrastructure and related environmental report; 3) “VIWAPA Load Projections/Load Forecast,” which is an evaluation of the authority’s load growth.
“I would really like to thank Gov. John P. DeJongh Jr. and Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christiansen for their hard work and diligence in making this come to fruition for the authority,” said Executive Director Hodge V. Hodge Jr. He noted that both officials had met with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and were instrumental in ensuring that the territory was included in this program, which will benefit the authority’s customers.