Despite meeting for hours Thursday, the most significant item Public Services Commission members approved was a motion for new officers, which switched Andrew Rutnik from vice-chairman to chairman and brought on member Raymond Williams as vice chairman.
A petition for a change in Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause rates was also on Thursday’s meeting agenda but at the end of the day, the PSC moved the item to a meeting in January after members decided that they needed more information.
“The original motion that we made sought to remove a fee that was in the current LEAC and put it in the base rate but we couldn’t a consensus on that from the commission,” PSC Executive Director Donald “Ducks” Cole said after the meeting. “We have just gotten an IRP (integrated resource plan) report that hasn’t been consumed by the commission and, based on that, I think the PSC feels that there are certain items that need to be looked at before a decision can be made.”
After working with consultants from Black & Veatch for almost a year, V.I. Water and Power Authority officials presented an overview of its IRP in May during public meetings held throughout the territory. The IRP is a study meant to determine the best generation mix for WAPA over the next two decades and, during the public hearings, consultants said that if kept on only fuel, WAPA would have spent more on energy over the next 20 years than by replacing outdated generating units and switching to liquid propane gas, which it’s currently on.
Cole said Thursday that commission members wanted to get a better idea of what the final report said and how it would affect WAPA’s structure, especially now that the utility’s conversion to LPG is complete.
Cole said that LEAC rates will stay the same at least until the January meeting, when it is hoped that everyone will be on the same page.
“The IRP is a path toward new generation and, if have new generation in place, then we have to fully look at everything,” Cole said. “The commission was not ready to make a decision.”
Asked if delaying a decision on the LEAC would affect WAPA’s financial position, Cole said that the delay is only about two weeks and, had the PSC approved the petition Thursday, WAPA would have had to wait until January to implement them anyway.
In other news, PSC members received a presentation on Vitelco’s new EVO boxes, heard customer complaints filed with the commission, and gave Innovative officials until Feb. 1, 2017, to submit its business plan for the ongoing merger with Atlantic Tele Network, which acquired the Innovative group of companies in early July.