And WAPA’s Worst Customer Is…The Government.

Senator Craig Barshinger (left) and Governor deJongh (right)
Senator Craig Barshinger (left) and Governor deJongh (right)

Only in the USVI would a new law need to be passed in order to get the government to pay its bills. Seriously?

We came across an article in the Virgin Islands Daily News this weekend that was pretty interesting. In a nutshell, it said how the government is a “deadbeat WAPA customer” and that Senator Craig Barshinger is pressuring the governor to implement a Single Payer Utility Fund in order to get it to pay its bills. But it seems that everyone isn’t on board considering that the governor himself vetoed it last month. But according to the article, his veto was later overridden by the VI Legislature.

Here’s a bit of what the Virgin Islands Daily News reported:

“…The fund – administered by the VI Finance commissioner – would ensure that the VI Water and Power Authority would get paid in a timely manner.

The Single Payer Utility Fund would comprise appropriated monies that previously have been released and deposited in the operating accounts of departments and agencies.

WAPA’s executive leadership often has complained of large-scale delinquencies tied to government accounts and the consequent lack of funds for maintenance of grid turbines and other power network infrastructure.

When (Governor) deJongh vetoed the measure, he said that such a payment vehicle would just create another ‘bureaucratic layer’ and so would be contrary to the intent of streamlining and securing government payments to WAPA.”

According to the article, the government currently owes the utility more than $25 million.

“The V.I. Government is a deadbeat WAPA customer,” Barshinger stated. “By using WAPA as a bank of convenience, we doom ourselves to poor electricity reliability. This is not in dispute: When its biggest customer fails to pay on time, WAPA diverts funds that would have been used for maintenance to pay for fuel. Then the equipment breaks down, months or years later, leaving paying customers without service.”

Sounds about right.

Barshinger called on the governor to make public the following information per the article:

  • The uncontested, past-due balances owed to WAPA by the V.I. government, per department and agency.
  • The projected debt during the next six months to WAPA by the government, with breakouts for all departments and autonomous and semi-autonomous agencies.
  • The governor’s plan for bringing the outstanding balances current.

So we’re curious, what do you think about all of this? Comment away.

Tickets are available at Motu or by emailing Dawn at [email protected]

5 thoughts on “And WAPA’s Worst Customer Is…The Government.”

  1. Tickets are available at Motu or by emailing Dawn at [email protected]
    What does this have to do with the government and WAPA ??? Maybe Dawn strategically placed this!!
    I hope Dawn sells lots of tickets to the Motu masquerade party!!!

  2. I wish Barshinger could be elected governor. But the chances of that happening are directly proportional to the demographic. So it will never happen.

  3. Great idea Craig.
    The calculation is that if the Government were to pay its bills on time like everyone else has to then the WAPA rates woud be 30% less !

    A bill should be passed that WAPA is not a monopoly as it is now.
    If you have a problem with your bill and WAPA disagrees with you there is no recourse. Either pay it or get your power turned off. We need a third party to investigate when bills are incorrect. Call it “Consumer Advocacy”
    Many States have this in place already, why don’t we ?

  4. We just received our WAPA bill for January and our bill was $1,000+. We were not at the house for the month and electricity was minimally used.

    The actual issue is with the voters. Why do the same people get elected when they are so irresponsible on behalf the citizens? Until people start to actually think about what our elected officials should do in representing us, that tax payers, we have no hope of improving the situation.

    The Governor should be voted out. The elected officials who don’t allow the WAPA bill to be paid on schedule should be voted out. If, as the research suggest, that the WAPA costs could be reduced by 30%, and the voters do nothing.., URGH. Why is the electricity still on in government buildings? WAPA, turn it off.

    WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP. WE NEED PEOPLE WHO WILL BE ACCOUNTABLE.

    Paying bills on time is something schools are teaching children in basic math classes. “Here is a check book. When you owe money you write a check and you subtract that amount from the balance. A responsible person pays their bills on time to allow good credit.” Who could we get to provide a class of this sort to the elected officials???????????

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