April 25, 2006 – The V.I. Water and Power Authority has been espousing energy conservation for years. Although it may seem counterintuitive for a business to ask customers to consume less of its product, WAPA is in an odd predicament.
Alberto Bruno-Vega, WAPA executive director, has portrayed the company as little more than a cash conduit for oil companies, collecting money from V.I. customers and then buying oil with it.
The problem is when oil prices go up, as they have in recent years, WAPA is not collecting as much as it spends. Therefore, if less energy is purchased, WAPA loses less money.
The WAPA Governing Board announced this week that it has gone another step toward promoting conservation. WAPA has entered into a partnership agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program.
According to Bruno-Vega, "This partnership will enable WAPA to effectively promote energy efficiency and environmental stewardship throughout the Virgin Islands. WAPA will promote Energy Star practices, products, and education throughout the territory."
According to a press release from WAPA, the company is committing to becoming a leader in public education about energy consumption. Bruno-Vega said in the release, "Energy Star and WAPA will enhance the environment in which we live by promoting the better use of cost-effective practices and proven reputable products to save residents money, and reduce air pollution. Further, the authority is committed to move toward power generation through alternative and renewable energy sources."
The V.I. Energy Office has been promoting the purchase of Energy Star products for 15 years by giving residents rebates on their purchases.
WAPA has discussed the possibility of becoming part of the rebate program but has to yet not made any monetary commitment to it.
The release stated that Energy Star would provide a positive platform for WAPA to make a bigger difference in the community. By using Energy Star tools and strategies, WAPA, reportedly, will use proven methods to reduce program costs and implementation timelines.
Last year Americans with the help of Energy Star saved enough energy to power 28 million homes and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 23 million cars from the highways, all while saving $12 billion on their energy bills, according to the release.
Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 and works in partnership with the Department of Energy and more than 8,000 organizations to improve the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.