Consensus and Corruption

Dear Source:
The first keyword word in the title is Consensus and its meaning is, "something where the majority is in agreement". Talk about WAPA and you will quickly find that you are in consensus with everyone's thoughts.
I will join a conversation or will start a conversation with the simple word "WAPA". This single word sparks a firestorm of comments and for the most part, there is a quick consensus that their bill is beyond reasonable and if WAPA continues with the high costs and poor performance then we can expect more businesses to fail.
Yesterday while at a local restaurant, I made light of the handwritten changes on the menu. All the prices were increased and surprisingly the menu was new. Questioning the owner got the quick and sharp response, "we can all thank WAPA for driving all the prices through the ceiling". Saying the four letter word "WAPA" caused everyone within ear-shot to join in on the discussion. This business is not unique but seems to be the rule and I have heard the same comments everywhere. WAPA is out of control and AGAIN they have been granted another pay increase.
It's almost comical that when the power goes out I comment that, "The Governor must be giving a speech somewhere". It appears that WAPA is so out of control that they can thumb their nose at the government and can continue to run business as usual. Being the highest per kilowatt per hour per person of all the 50 states and territories including Hawaii, you would think that at the price we pay I would not have to reprogram my VCR every day and its flashing "12:00".
I am tired of the same old excuses of equipment failures, old or tired generators, or an overloaded substation. This only serves to grind our senses to the fact that this is just another poor and historical excuse for more money. In my opinion, the rise in fuel costs was a blessing in disguise for WAPA. We all have experienced greater fuel costs and symphonize with this fact which appear to be out of control! But WAPA seems to be using it as another new reason to use the same old mantra, "We need another pay hike". Fantastic!
Next word is "Corruption" and boy, has that word been in the news lately! A hospital out of control, funds siphoned to executives and now I read that the court is reveling even more "under the table" cash drains. As a recent patient of Schneider Hospital I had faith that my needs would be taken care of. I am well aware of the importance of having faith in a critical service and in time of need you don't take a time out to analyze their financial stability. You have to have faith in their commitment and ability to perform. My faith in the expected services and the care givers at Schneider was excellent and I praise that experience to everyone. I was oblivious to the hardships created on those that helped me due to "out of control" executives.
Should we just have that same blind faith in WAPA? I fear not! Just as the corruption magnifying glass is placed on Schneider's use of funds so should we demand that the same level of corruption investigation be placed on WAPA? Let's not just assume that monies paid to WAPA are used wisely.
Killing our merchants and driving all of us all to the brink of desperation is not a faith builder. Performance is inconsistent to say the least, poor planning for our future needs, talk and no action plans, and a total disregard for respect for the people that pay their bills. You can count on excellent WAPA performance in the areas of billing, cutting off your power, and ignoring calls for help.
We are now entering the peak hurricanes season and what faith shall we place on WAPA. Stories of the past storms yield horror tales of months without power. This makes me believe that we are in store for the same. One tropical storm and the governor can expect another pile of rate hike requests on his desk and we can expect to again serve up more money.
I would like to say in response to few rare WAPA customers that state, "If only the government would just pay their bill then WAPA would not be in such a mess". I agree that the government should pay 100% of their utility bills and if the funds are not available then it should be directly deducted from all senators and representatives. Those responsible for allocating our tax dollars should be held responsible. If you ignore your utility bill and don't pay it in full then your power is cut off. Hold those responsible. You can bet their paychecks are paid in full and on time. Do you really think that if WAPA was paid in full we could expect a reduction in our rates or the elimination of these special add on fees.
If the saying the "buck stops here" then Governor John P. deJongh, Jr. please step in and deliver. Don't defer the issue to a committee for discussions or give a speech on actions to come. Actions verses talk gets results and we sure need results.
Larry Boecker
St. Thomas

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