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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWAPA Switch to Propane Will Improve the USVI Economy

WAPA Switch to Propane Will Improve the USVI Economy

For many in the Virgin Islands, energy costs remain one of the highest expenses faced each month. For Virgin Islands businesses, high WAPA bills often come at the expense of job creation, new equipment, and growth. Finding a solution to our Territory’s energy crisis will have far reaching economic benefits for our Islands. It is for this reason that the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John Chambers of Commerce support the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA) project to switch from fuel oil to propane for the generation of electricity.
Today, propane is the best near-term solution to lower the cost of power generation in our Territory. WAPA has told us that its conversion to propane will reduce WAPA’s fuel costs by approximately 30 percent, or $90 million annually. A 30 percent reduction in WAPA’s fuel cost translates to a significant decrease in the fuel surcharge (LEAC), which currently makes up 75 percent of power bills. Because WAPA is a nonprofit entity, any savings achieved by WAPA are passed along immediately to ratepayers, like families and businesses. WAPA’s conversion to propane will also allow the Virgin Islands to have a greater independence from increases to the global market price of oil. By moving to propane, WAPA customers will no longer see a higher utility rate every time the price of oil jumps, which has been the case for over a decade.
In order to attract new investment – jobs – to our Territory, we must make it cheaper and easier to do business in the Virgin Islands. WAPA’s propane conversion is an important step toward this goal. Lower power bills mean more jobs. Lower power bills mean a better quality of life for all of us. Lower power bills mean that Virgin Islands businesses can grow and thrive – rather than struggling just to survive.
WAPA’s conversion to propane will immediately benefit our economy. Ground is being cleared and new facilities will soon be built. WAPA promises that much of the construction work associated with its conversion will go to local contractors and suppliers. Already, Vitol (WAPA’s propane supplier) has invested over $50 million in this project. Under its deal with Vitol, WAPA does not pay anything to Vitol until propane is actually used to generate electricity. In conjunction with its conversion to propane, WAPA is also making improvements to its existing facilities and transmission systems that will further increase efficiency and reliability. Increased efficiency and reliability mean less outages, which means less disruption to business.
WAPA’s conversion to propane also has far-reaching benefits for the environment. Compared to fuel oil, propane contributes 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change. Propane also creates over 80 percent less soot than fuel oil when burned for power generation. Not only will air quality improve, but by utilizing a safe, clean-burning energy source we ensure the health of our Islands and the viability of tourism which makes up an important sector of our economy.
We applaud WAPA’s hard work and commitment to provide us with less expensive, more efficient and more reliable energy. WAPA’s conversion to propane is an important step toward resolving our energy crisis. WAPA’s promised 30 percent reduction in its cost of fuel means lower bills for businesses and consumers. Lower WAPA bills bring happier customers, more jobs, more tourism, a better environment and a friendlier business climate – things we can all agree make a better Virgin Islands for everyone.
Editor’s note: Mark Eckard is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, and Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli is president of the St Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.

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For many in the Virgin Islands, energy costs remain one of the highest expenses faced each month. For Virgin Islands businesses, high WAPA bills often come at the expense of job creation, new equipment, and growth. Finding a solution to our Territory’s energy crisis will have far reaching economic benefits for our Islands. It is for this reason that the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John Chambers of Commerce support the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA) project to switch from fuel oil to propane for the generation of electricity.
Today, propane is the best near-term solution to lower the cost of power generation in our Territory. WAPA has told us that its conversion to propane will reduce WAPA’s fuel costs by approximately 30 percent, or $90 million annually. A 30 percent reduction in WAPA’s fuel cost translates to a significant decrease in the fuel surcharge (LEAC), which currently makes up 75 percent of power bills. Because WAPA is a nonprofit entity, any savings achieved by WAPA are passed along immediately to ratepayers, like families and businesses. WAPA’s conversion to propane will also allow the Virgin Islands to have a greater independence from increases to the global market price of oil. By moving to propane, WAPA customers will no longer see a higher utility rate every time the price of oil jumps, which has been the case for over a decade.
In order to attract new investment – jobs – to our Territory, we must make it cheaper and easier to do business in the Virgin Islands. WAPA’s propane conversion is an important step toward this goal. Lower power bills mean more jobs. Lower power bills mean a better quality of life for all of us. Lower power bills mean that Virgin Islands businesses can grow and thrive – rather than struggling just to survive.
WAPA’s conversion to propane will immediately benefit our economy. Ground is being cleared and new facilities will soon be built. WAPA promises that much of the construction work associated with its conversion will go to local contractors and suppliers. Already, Vitol (WAPA’s propane supplier) has invested over $50 million in this project. Under its deal with Vitol, WAPA does not pay anything to Vitol until propane is actually used to generate electricity. In conjunction with its conversion to propane, WAPA is also making improvements to its existing facilities and transmission systems that will further increase efficiency and reliability. Increased efficiency and reliability mean less outages, which means less disruption to business.
WAPA’s conversion to propane also has far-reaching benefits for the environment. Compared to fuel oil, propane contributes 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change. Propane also creates over 80 percent less soot than fuel oil when burned for power generation. Not only will air quality improve, but by utilizing a safe, clean-burning energy source we ensure the health of our Islands and the viability of tourism which makes up an important sector of our economy.
We applaud WAPA’s hard work and commitment to provide us with less expensive, more efficient and more reliable energy. WAPA’s conversion to propane is an important step toward resolving our energy crisis. WAPA’s promised 30 percent reduction in its cost of fuel means lower bills for businesses and consumers. Lower WAPA bills bring happier customers, more jobs, more tourism, a better environment and a friendlier business climate – things we can all agree make a better Virgin Islands for everyone.
Editor’s note: Mark Eckard is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, and Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli is president of the St Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.