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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, February 24, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesUnions Back Propane Conversion

Unions Back Propane Conversion

Greetings from the unions representing members of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority workforce. First let us say a big thank you to you, the WAPA customers. It is our honor to work on behalf of the Virgin Islands’ community to provide safe and reliable water and power to our residents.
The Authority is celebrating 50 years of service to the community this year. As employees, we are proud of our accomplishments over the last four decades and we look forward to a brighter future for our utility. We write today as WAPA employees, union leaders and members of the Virgin Islands community who recognize the extreme difficulty that high utility bills present for your families and businesses. Our families, our neighbors, and, of course, our own households face these same high bills. That is why we are very optimistic about the upcoming project to switch from fuel oil to propane for power generation. We are pleased to report that this project is progressing well and by the fall will provide some relief from high water and power bills. When completed, the project will not only translate into lower power bills, but more money in the pockets of our residents, businesses, schools and government agencies. It’s because we – as well as the entire WAPA workforce – share the same concerns as our neighbors, family and friends that we recognize this move to propane will be to all of our benefit.
Ensuring our community is functioning at the highest possible level – and actively participating in its progress – is a top priority at WAPA. We take servicing our 55,000 electricity customers seriously. In recent years utility bills in the Virgin Islands have risen due to the steady increase of the cost of fuel oil. Completing the conversion to propane for electric generation will free our community from paying higher power bills every time the international market price of oil goes up. Of the fuel options available to the Virgin Islands, propane is the best option we have today to significantly reduce the cost of power generation. In fact, doing so will lower WAPA’s fuel cost by an estimated 30 percent, leading to significant savings for all of WAPA’s customers over the next five years, with additional savings expected after that. As a result, households will have more funds for other day-to-day necessities, our businesses will have the ability to hire more workers, and government agencies will be better able to meet their monthly obligations to the Authority.
In addition to the benefits to our local economy, this fuel switch project will help with alleviating the environmental concerns of our community. Switching to propane helps address global climate concerns because it emits less carbon into the atmosphere compared with fuel oil. Preserving our pristine natural resources is not only in the best interest of our environment, but our economy and community. Alongside this project, we at WAPA are making further improvements to power-generating facilities and transmission systems to increase the efficiency and reliability of our services. This project will eventually allow us to modernize existing facilities and make further investments into renewable energy sources – including plans to bring solar power to St. Thomas and St. Croix this year.
This fuel switch is a significant step forward in the Virgin Islands’ journey towards greater energy affordability, reliability and sustainability. As WAPA employees and advocates for the VI workforce, we can confirm that this project is the result of the Authority’s continuing commitment to finding innovative solutions to support our customers with a cleaner, more affordable source of power. As rate payers and fellow residents, we are optimistic that this move will provide significant benefits to our community and we are privileged to be a part of this solution.
Ian Forde, WAPA Employee Association
Charlesworth Nicholas, VI Workers Union
Rolston Jones, WAPA Professional and Technical Employee Union

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