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Senators Sarauw and Frett-Gregory Pen Legislation Addressing WAPA Crisis


September 19, 2019

St. Thomas, USVI- The Water and Power Authority (WAPA), a semi-autonomous agency and the sole power utility in the US Virgin Islands, has been plagued with various, long-standing issues ranging from outdated infrastructure and equipment, to gross mismanagement. The growing instability of WAPA has had crippling effects on the daily operation of Virgin Islands businesses, homes, hospitals, and schools. In addition to the brownish water supply, the increasing number of outages throughout the Territory is unacceptable as it wreaks havoc on WAPA customers not only in exorbitant utility bills, but also by causing household and commercial equipment failures. Currently, residents are facing the reality of rates that exceed that of any other U.S. state.


In order to address the severe deficiency of WAPA’s ability to provide reliable service at reasonable costs to the residents, both Senators Sarauw and Frett-Gregory have been working for several months researching various options for the agency. Having found that WAPA is unable to adequately serve its customers and manage the power utility needs of the Territory, the legislation gives the Public Service Commission (PSC) the authority to temporarily appoint an independent management entity with fiduciary oversight to bring the company up to appropriate regulatory and operational standards. The overarching goal of this legislation is to provide for the improvement of the services by WAPA, address the high cost of use, and loosen the ball-and-chain of resulting debts through effective oversight, coordination, and planning.


“As we make strides in our recovery with aims to bolster economic development, we must provide the basic necessities and infrastructure for economic stability to occur. Stabilizing WAPA should be at the top of the agenda,” states Senator Frett-Gregory.


“It is time that we treat WAPA with the urgency of the emergency that it is. Our residents deserve the reliability of their utilities in the 21st century,” states Senator Sarauw.


Staggering rates coupled with poor service and increasing debt have proven to be a growing challenge needing immediate intervention. Senators Janelle K. Sarauw and Donna Frett-Gregory have crafted very specific legislation to address this pressing utility crisis - a vital solution for the overall betterment of the Virgin Islands and improved quality of life for all Virgin Islanders. Both Senators Sarauw and Frett-Gregory pledge to partner with members of the 33rd Legislature, the Executive Branch and all other necessary stakeholders.

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Senator Sarauw Contact: Diana Cruz | (340) 693-3586 | dcruz@legvi.org

Senator Frett-Gregory Contact: Wean Farrell |(340) 693-3686 | wwilliamsfarrell@legvi.org

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© 2019 Senator Donna Frett-Gregory