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WAPA Workers Walk, Skip Hearing Complaints

Oct. 4, 2004 – Water and Power Authority workers, officers, and the chairman of their governing board walked out of the Public Services Commission meeting Friday as Darryl Miller, an organizer of the St. Croix Alliance to Protect Utility Ratepayers, stepped up to deliver a presentation.
Afterwards Miller said, "They could have at least listened. What I had to say only took five minutes." He added this behavior was illustrative of WAPA's general response to its customers.
The WAPA personnel were not walking out because of Miller's appearance. The officials had been testifying to the PSC for two days and had just finished testifying on the last agenda item concerning WAPA.
PSC Chairman Valencio Jackson pleaded with WAPA people to remain and listen to Miller's presentation, but Daryl "Mickey" Lynch, chair of WAPA's governing board, said it was very important that all the WAPA officials move on to another meeting. He said Cassandra Dunn, who handles community relations for WAPA, would remain, but the rest of the WAPA people would have to leave.
One of those leaving, Aberto Bruno-Vega, executive director of WAPA, probably would not have wanted to hear what Miller was saying anyway.
Miller said, "We do not feel that Mr. Bruno-Vega is the best man for the job of heading our public utility – WAPA. We would like an executive director who is much more compassionate to the reality of the ratepayer, not just to the authority. As a public utility, we want our Water and Power Authority to serve us, not oppress us or exploit us, as has been the case of recent years."
At the last meeting of the ratepayers' group there was a decision to attend a PSC meeting en mass.
On Friday, Miller said that was still in the planning stages.(See "Group Concerned About Utility Rates to Meet with PSC").
About 50 people attended that meeting in early September at the St. Croix Educational Center. That was the second meeting of the group.
Miller said "The main purpose for the formation of SCAPUR is to attempt to answer the question 'How do we, the ratepayers, hold board members who make decisions that affect us accountable?'"
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