The V.I. Water and Power Authority is ready to deal with any "severe" inclement weather over the next few days and throughout the hurricane season, according to the utility’s executive director, Hugo Hodge Jr.
In a statement issued Sunday, Hodge said the authority’s emergency-response teams meet on a regular basis through the year, and have gotten together several times over the weekend to activity WAPA’s internal and external emergency plans.
"We will be operating as efficiently and, most importantly, as safely as possible," Hodge said.
During hurricane season, all WAPA employees are designated as essential employees and will report to work on emergency schedules to help in restoring down electric and water systems.
As usual during a hurricane, WAPA will try to maintain service as long as possible and will not intentionally turn off the power during a storm. However, the "three-strike" rule continues to apply — if a feeder loses service, WAPA employees will attempt to restore service three times, unless outside conditions make it difficult to do so. If the attempts are unsuccessful, the feeder will remain down until the storm passes.
Emergency hotline numbers will be announced through the media if increased calls begin to come in. Meanwhile, St. Croix customers can call 773-0150 or 773-2250 and press 7 to report water or power problems.
On St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island, residents can call 774-1424 or 774-3552 and press 4 to report outages. Residents are urged to give accurate information and clear directions to their location. A list of electrical feeders can be picked up at WAPA’s offices, or found on its website at http://www.viwapa.vi.
WAPA customers are also urged to listen to the radio for regular updates, including boiling-water precautions. The public should also stay away from fallen poles and lines, mark their potable-water safety valves and immediately report any damage by calling the emergency numbers.
Residents should also have adequate drinking water and food available, along with extra batteries for flashlights and radios. To protect appliances, turn off circuit breakers, but leave just one on to power a small lamp that will show when the power comes back on. All faucets should be closed, according to a WAPA release.