The governing board and executive director of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Saturday reaffirmed that the utility will not disconnect delinquent electrical and potable water service accounts for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency.
In a joint statement Saturday, Board Chairman Anthony Thomas, who is also the commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, and Executive Director Lawrence Kupfer said WAPA fully understands the concern in the community about the uncertainties surrounding the novel coronavirus and its effect on lives.
“While customers have received a 60-day bill this month as the Authority catches up on its billing, WAPA will not compound these uncertain and challenging times with the fear of disconnection of customers, who are simply unable to pay due to disruptions caused by the pandemic,” Kupfer said in the statement released Saturday.
Although WAPA will not disconnect for nonpayment during this emergency period, the utility encouraged customers who can pay their bills to do so.
WAPA relies on revenues from the sales of electricity and water to pay for fuel and other fixed costs to maintain constant electric and water service to residents of the territory, the statement said.
WAPA issued 60-day bills this month to allow the Authority to collect for service that has already been provided but not yet billed. While customers have received a bill each month, the number of days, from the day their meter was read to the day the bill was issued, was unavoidably increased each month since May 2019.
“This problem stems from our hurricane-ravaged automated metering system having not been fully restored to pre-hurricane functionality,” according to the statement.