April 3, 2006 – The only way V.I. residents can keep their power bills from going up this month is by lowering energy consumption.
A press release today from the V.I. Water and Power Authority said that WAPA has notified the Public Services Commission that the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause factor will be adjusted upward effective April 1. The automatic adjustment authorized by the PSC is triggered when the actual price of fuel varies from the forecasted price by more than $1.75 per barrel.
In the release, WAPA Executive Director Alberto Bruno-Vega urged residents to take advantage of practices that can lower their energy consumption without depriving themselves of comfort.
The release said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program has determined that typically, energy consumption can be reduced by 10 to 30 percent just by changing behaviors in energy use.
Turning off lights and fans when not in use, and adjusting thermostats on hot water heaters and air conditioners to more appropriate settings will lower energy costs.
The increase in customer's LEAC is going from $0.176346 per kilowatt hour to $0.182278 per kilowatt hour. The new LEAC factor is based on an increase in the March 2006 forecasted price of fuel per barrel from $62.59 to the actual Hovensa delivered price of $64.89 representing an increase of 3.7 percent.
The April monthly billing for a residential customer using an average 500 kWh, according to WAPA, will increase by 2.25 percent or $2.96. Commercial customers using an average 1200 kWh monthly will see an overall increase of 2.04 percent or $7.12. The monthly billing of a large power customer using an average 30,000 kWh will increase by $177.96 or 2.42 percent.
The water LEAC will increase from $5.19 to $5.27 per thousand gallons. The overall billing for residential water customers using an average of 2,400 gallons per month will increase by .2 percent or 10 cents.
In announcing the LEAC increases, Bruno-Vega said WAPA regrets that surging fuel oil prices will again impact WAPA and its customers.
"As we predicted when we announced the LEAC decreases in January, oil prices influenced by a volatile international fuel oil market have again escalated and reached almost $66 a barrel within the last week," Bruno-Vega said.
He added that due to fuel costs increasing faster than WAPA rate increases will allow, the Authority has not recovered customer fuel costs of almost $27 million through the LEAC. This has put a major strain on WAPA operations. (See "WAPA Board Discusses Financial Crisis").
Information on ways to cut energy consumption is available at www.viwapa.vi.
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