WAPA Board Approves Generator Protection Contract Extension, Rehab Project Contract

Extra time and money was approved Thursday by the V.I. Water and Power Authority for Dashiell Corp., which was hired in 2014 to design, engineer, construct, test and commission a protection system upgrade for Units 16 and 20.

Cash flow problems kept WAPA from paying the company on time and held up the project, but WAPA officials said Thursday that the company has since come back on board. Another $188,878 was approved by the board to the original contract so Dashiell can finish up and another year was added for the work, extending the project completion date to Dec. 31, 2016.

The board also approved the payment of $316,468 in submerged land fees to Planning and Natural Resources. WAPA Chief Operating Officer Gregory Rhymer explained Thursday that the authority’s fuel dock on St. Croix, along with portions of its power plant, sit on submerged lands and the payment of the annual lease fees due to DPNR been put on hold until it was determined who owned the property.

The money covers payments owed from Sept. 19, 2012, to Sept. 19, 2015.

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The board also approved the authorization of a contract for V.I. Paving Inc. for the completion of the first phase of the Christiansted rehabilitation project, which will complete the rehabilitation of water lines in the town. The completion of Company Street on St. Croix will be the first phase of the project, which is estimated to cost $259,500.

Giving his executive director’s report Thursday, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. reflected back on his last eight years at the authority and the projects WAPA has been able to complete. This week, WAPA received the Army Corps of Engineers permit it needed to push forward with its propone conversion project on St. Thomas, and Hodge said by the second quarter of the year, St. Croix will also be finished.

“By the end of the second quarter of this year, there will be LPG (liquefied propane gas) flowing, creating low cost energy territorywide,” Hodge said.

WAPA has also been able to complete a series of hedges for 2018 that will lock fuel prices in at 35-cents per gallon, Hodge said.

“So these savings are not going to end anytime soon,” he added.

Just minutes later, the board went into executive session where, among other things, they voted on a four-year extension to Hodge’s employment contract, which is up in June. A motion to approve the extension failed, with four board members voting for it and four against.

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