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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeCommentaryOp-Ed: Letter to the Governor Bryan Jr.: Energy Crisis

Op-Ed: Letter to the Governor Bryan Jr.: Energy Crisis

Dear Governor Bryan Jr.,

I write this letter with the greatest sense of concern for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In recent weeks we have experienced an unprecedented number of power outages throughout the entire territory. As a result of these repeated outages – which have been blamed on a wide variety of issues – our people have truly suffered, businesses have been shuttered, school has been dismissed, and our community has endured untold stress and economic loss.

On April 24, 2024 you issued a State of Emergency Declaration in order to avert an energy crisis. Sir, that energy crisis has not been averted, it is here.

The U.S. Virgin Islands must make full use of this emergency declaration. That said, I implore you to immediately request technical assistance from the United States Army Corps of Engineers as to the operation of our power plants and grid.

By its own admission, the Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority’s current problems are clearly not only financial. There are major issues with how power is generated and distributed. Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, I had the opportunity to participate in many meetings with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers officials as to the restoration of our power grid and I am certain this agency can provide the necessary expertise to help WAPA better manage its equipment and resources.

As Governor, you are afforded extraordinary powers under a State of Emergency declaration, to include regulatory flexibility, priority access to resources and federal assistance, to include technical support. I urge you to take advantage of any direct guidance the federal government is willing to provide and immediately call upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Residents of St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix have lost all faith in WAPA. At this point, many justifiably fear we could go dark for an extended period. We have lost the Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, we have entered hurricane season and our ability to effectively generate and distribute power is clearly already tenuous. The time for action is now.

Thank you for your consideration in this regard. The community awaits your response.

Sincerely,

Samuel Carrión
Senator-35th Legislature

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