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FYI: Sen. James Questions WAPA on Several Matters

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March 13, 2008 – On Friday, March 7, 2008, Senator Neville James sent a correspondence to the Executive Director, Mr. Hugo Hodge, Jr. to inquire about the progress being made toward finding solutions for addressing pressing issues as it relates to the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA).
Based on a Bloomberg Report on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 the present fiscal climate of the crude oil industry indicates the price of crude oil could increase to $120.00 a barrel over a six (6) months period. That assessment appears modest given the fact that as we speak, the price of crude oil is currently at $108.00 a barrel.
Senator James said, "The likelihood of WAPA requesting an increase in the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (L.E.A.C.) over the next six (6) months is better that 50/50, given the continued rise in the price of crude oil on the global market. If requested, that would be completely unacceptable in the opinion of this senator"
Senator James has requested of the authority, to make available their plan for a short term solution in addressing these types of strenuous increases. The need for a stable and practical strategy is paramount as we attempt to rebuild public confidence in WAPA.
"In addition to the L.E.A.C. I outlined other areas of concern relative to past actions taken by the governing board and other decisions made by the authority's executive management" Senator James continued.
Senator James pointed out the following concerns:
1. The potential of a class action lawsuit as it relates to the "equal protection" clause in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
2. The assertion of unfair labor law practices by companies contracted by WAPA as it pertains to the hiring of local qualified residents.
3. The promised line loss and internal reviews on the islands of St. Thomas & St. John from 2003/2004.
Senator James concluded, "As ratepayers keep their attention on the rising L.E.A.C. charges, we all must remain mindful the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is an entity owned by the people of the Virgin Islands. Everything must be done to protect the authority and the ratepayers from all internal and external obstacles that it faces on a daily basis"

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