Home News Local news LEAC Rates to Climb By 23 Percent

LEAC Rates to Climb By 23 Percent


Climbinging oil prices, which are now hitting $115 per barrel and still expected to climb, have forced an increase in Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC) rates, which Public Services Commission members voted Tuesday to hike by 23 percent.

What the PSC approved was only slightly less than what was requested earlier this month by the V.I. Water and Power Authority. Following the recommendations of its consultants from Georgetown Consulting Group, the PSC voted to increase the electric LEAC from the current 0.239 per kilowatt hour to 0.317, which means an extra $39.15 per month for the average residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours.

Right before the vote, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen—an ex-officio, or nonvoting member, of the PSC— stridently argued against the increase. However, her plea came up short, as the increase passed by a slim margin, with three PSC members voting for it and two against. While Hansen said the PSC should find more "creative ways" to deal with the LEAC, others said that keeping the power on is crucial to the V.I. economy.

"When the lights go out, the Virgin Islands dies," said Sen. Louis P. Hill, another ex-officio commission member. Other members of the PSC, such as the commission’s new chairman Donald "Ducks" Cole, agreed with Hill and WAPA, saying that large debts owed to the utility makes it difficult for them to stay in business.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said later that the utility is owed between $14 million and $15 million by the government. While Cole said any other business would not be able to function with those kinds of figures, Hodge said getting the payment in full would help pay off Hovensa and take care of some maintenance at the plant, which would help operations run more efficiently.

Hodge also said later that if the Alpine Energy Group (AEG) deal had been approved by the Senate, the plant would have almost been complete by now and ready to start bringing in savings for WAPA and its consumers. AEG had proposed to build two waste-to-energy facilities in the territory, but the deal was killed after senators, amidst concerns from the public over the use of pet coke at its plants, voted against the lease Alpine needed to build its facility on St. Thomas.

The Waste Management Authority is now working with Alpine on a new deal, which focuses just on using trash, for a plant on St. Croix.

On the same topic, PSC member M. Thomas Jackson called those who protested and succeeded in killing the project "ecoterrorists," and noted that senators who went to the states to scope out similar facilities did not find any detrimental effects within the surrounding environment.

Voting for the increase were Cole, Verne David and Sirri Hamad, while Jackson and Elsie Thomas-Trotman voted against it.

PSC members also voted to decrease the water LEAC from the current $11.68 per thousand gallons to $9.87 per thousand gallons — a drop of $4.35 on the average bill.


  1. By my calculations the increase is 32.6% (.078/,239), and oil is at 106 dollars a barrel not 115, whre is this info coming from. WAPA is obviously very inefficient, on the mainland prices are around 14 cents a KWH. The people here are being gouged.


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