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PSC OKs Changes in LEAC, Base Rate

With all the numbers finally in hand, Public Services Commission members voted Thursday to approve a drop in electric Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause rates, from $0.16279 to $0.143603 per kilowatt hour.

At its last meeting in December, PSC members delayed any vote on the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s request for a change in LEAC rates because they didn’t have enough information on a second request from WAPA to remove a fee that was in the current LEAC. At the time, PSC members said both moves would go hand in hand, and without the information they needed, it was better to move the matter to the next meeting.

During Thursday’s PSC meeting on St. Thomas, some commission members said they were still concerned about the flow of information between the two parties and because of that, initially wanted to separate the two issues. In the end, however, the PSC voted to decrease the electric LEAC for six months, starting Feb. 1, and approved a proposed water LEAC of $6.35 per thousand gallons for the next year.

The PSC also voted to move WAPA’s liquefied propane gas (LPG) infrastructure fee from the LEAC to the base rate, which could increase the overall bills for residential and commercial customers based on use. Commission members said moving the fee would help them clean up the electric LEAC, making it only related to fuel, and explained that the move would not necessarily cause an increase in bills.

“It’s a wash between whether it’s in the LEAC or in the base rate,” PSC chair Andrew Rutnik said. “So it’s not really an increase.”

In other news, WAPA officials made a presentation on possible ways to streamline the utility’s generating system, which includes purchasing new generators so that by December 2019, many of the old ones – including the “workhorse” Unit 23 – would be retired.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited after posting to remove some erroneous figures. The Source regrets the error.

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