Aug. 13, 2004 – The Public Services Commission ordered the Water and Power Authority on Friday not to send out a request for proposals from independent power producers until the PSC approves a draft of it.
At its June meeting, the WAPA board voted to hire a consulting firm to assist in developing a request for proposals for alternative sources of energy. The authority announced that the RFP would be sent to five firms — Caribbean Energy Resources Corp., Caribe Waste Technologies, Florida Power and Light, Renaissance Group and Sea Solar.
Following that meeting, WAPA's chief executive officer, Alberto Bruno-Vega, said that because of increasing fuel costs the authority is moving toward finding an outside source of power. He said WAPA officials felt that issuing an RFP was the best way to select one from among the various companies that have approached the authority.
However, the PSC disagreed. (See "PSC Critical of WAPA's Approach to Power Suppliers".)
In its order issued on Friday, the PSC also directed WAPA to provide:
– Answers by Sept. 15 to the "interrogatories" to be submitted by the PSC by next Wednesday.
– A written overview, also due by next Wednesday, of the utility's proposed protocol for integrating the RFP results with an ongoing Condition Assessment Study and WAPA's recently announced plans for a new waste heat recovery boiler on St. Croix.
– An explanation as to why the St. Croix boiler should not be delayed until the RFP process and the Condition Assessment Study are completed.
The PSC has opened a docket on the matter and its chair, Valencio Jackson, is to select a hearing examiner to conduct a review of the proposed RFP and procurement process.
Two small power-producing companies — Caribbean Waste Technologies and Caribbean Energy Resources Corp. — have been certified by the PSC as "qualified facilities." And both have approached WAPA about contracting to supply power to the authority.
CWT, a company selected by the Turnbull administration more than three years ago to build and operate a waste-management system for the territory, sued WAPA on July 26, charging that the authority failed to purchase power from the company as directed by the government in an agreement. (See "WAPA Sued over Failure to Agree to Purchase Power".)
Officials of Caribbean Energy Resources said at a Senate Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on St. Croix in June that financing for their proposed industrial complex hinged on WAPA agreeing to purchase power from them. (See "WAPA Deal Key to Industrial Complex, Senators Told".)
At that hearing, Sen. Usie Richards had told WAPA's chief operating officer, Glenn Rothgeb, that by law WAPA should send the RFPs only to Caribbean Waste Technologies and Caribbean Energy Resources, as they are only firms certified in the territory as small power providers.
"I was of the understanding that we could negotiate with anyone we so desire," Rothgeb had replied.
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