In an emergency meeting Friday, the board of the V.I. Water and Power Authority authorized Executive Director Lawrence Kupfer to enter into agreements to secure services for emergency line crew and equipment to help with the post-disaster restoration of electrical service, assessment of damages and post-storm debris removal.
According to a statement from WAPA, Kupfer and management staff told board members that the emergency line crews, and equipment will ensure immediate, safe, effective and competent restoration of the electric grid in the event of an emergency. Kupfer reportedly will secure contracts with two on-island contractors, Haugland Virgin Islands and Fortress Electric, and two off-island contractors, BBC Electric and Bird Electric.
The damage assessment service providers will reportedly help with the quick reconstruction of the electric grids after a hurricane or other disasters. Formal arrangements will be negotiated with Haugland Virgin Islands and Integrated Solutions Consulting.
The board also approved contracts to Haugland Energy and SLSCO Ltd. for debris removal for the 2020 and 2021 hurricane seasons at a cost not to exceed $20 million. Hurricanes and other disasters generate rubble such as poles, wires, electric equipment that must be disposed of in accordance with federal regulatory standards. According to WAPA, money spent on debris removal is eligible for FEMA reimbursement.
Board members present included: Chairman Anthony Thomas, Vice Chair John JedHope, Secretary Juanita Young, Cheryl Boynes Jackson and Noel Loftus. Hubert Turnbull, Elizabeth Armstrong and ex officio members: Energy Office Director Kyle Fleming and Internal Revenue Bureau Director Joel Lee were not present.