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Government Again Owes WAPA Millions


Because the government and autonomous agencies again owe tens of millions of dollars in past due utility bills, the V.I. Water and Power Authority had to seek an advance on bond proceeds to buy fuel and is struggling with cash flow, Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said Wednesday during budget hearings.

While the government and Legislature have approved bond financing to pay $12 million in past due utility bills for the territory’s hospitals and prison, "even when we receive this cash infusion, the authority’s operations will continue to struggle with the tremendous weight of these government receivables," Hodge said.

Hodge gave the Gov. Juan Luis Hospital as an example, saying the hospital “has not made a direct payment to the authority since about 2011.” Schneider Regional Medical Center is starting to owe more and more too, he said.

As of Aug. 31, the central government owed $17.5 million for electrical bills, up from $15.5 million this time last year. "The total owed for water and electrical services by the central government is $18.8 million, with streetlights accounting for $11.7 million of that, Hodge said. Add the hospitals to that and WAPA is owed $25.1 million, he said.

The utility’s switch from extremely expensive diesel fuel to liquid propane is continuing and is now expected to be completed by January, Hodge said. At that point, customer fuel costs will go down by 30 percent or so, he said.

Sen. Judi Buckley pressed Hodge on why the work was delayed, when Hodge had previously testified it should be complete in October of this year.

Hodge said there had been some changes as they proceeded, in some cases because permitting agencies recommended changes to their fuel storage and distribution plans.

While the authority does not receive any money from the General Fund for expenses, WAPA officials still come before the Senate each year to discuss their projected costs, revenues and plans.

For Fiscal Year 2015, Hodge said, WAPA anticipates total revenue of $317.2 million, with $227 million of that from the fuel surcharge on the bill. Wages, salaries and benefits are budgeted at $39 million. Fuel itself is projected to cost $207.3 million.

The water system is projected to earn $35.5 million, with $$9.4 million of that coming from the fuel surcharge.


  1. So, when we, the people, don’t pay our utility bills, we lose access to the utilities. When the government doesn’t pay its bills, they just keep on working, keep on getting a paycheck, keep on eating, keep on partying, keep on spending. Have you ever been in a government office? It is so cold. Do we, the people, keep our homes this cold? Do we, the people, cause our utility bills to be sky high? No, we don’t. We, the people, conserve. The government spends our money as if there is no end to it. They are living off the backs of we, the people. They all have good paying jobs off the backs of we, the people. They have office buildings to work in, because of we, the people. They have homes to live in, because of we, the people. They have food to eat, because of we, the people. When do we, the people, get to live like the government? Why does the government get to live at a higher level than we, the people?


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