WAPA's Audit Shows 'Good 2014,' Officials Say

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Audit reports for fiscal year 2014 show that the V.I. Water and Power Authority is in a “better financial position” than previous years, which officials attributed Wednesday to better money management.

WAPA’s board approved the audited financials during an emergency meeting on St. Thomas. According to the reports prepared by BDO USA, the authority’s net position increased by $3.7 million on the water side, with operating and production expenses decreasing about 17 percent, from $36 million in 2014 to $29.9 million the previous year.

On the electric side, however, WAPA’s net position decreased by $2.9 million, due to a drop of about 5 percent total operating revenues, from $339 million in fiscal year 2013, to $321.2 in 2014. The decrease, officials explained, is due to a $16.5 million drop in fuel escalator, or fuel duty, revenues, along with a $12.2 million decrease in base revenues.

The decrease, however, was offset by $10.9 million in other revenues and $11.5 million in capital grants and contributions used on street light projects, the Frenchman’s Bay Road undergrounding project, and the Rothschild Francis Market Square project, according to the report.

“We’ve had a good 2014,” WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said during Wednesday’s meeting. Hodge said the revenues generated for FY 2014 were enough to “exceed” all of the authority’s debt coverage requirements, which are tied to WAPA’s outstanding electric and water system bonds.

Board members said Wednesday the audited reports could help improve the authority’s bond rating and add to its ability to securing funding in the future. WAPA officials said the numbers should continue to improve.

“As we move forward our financial position is improving because our management of expenses is improving,” WAPA Chief Financial Officer Julio Rhymer said.

Board members present Wednesday were: Elizabeth Armstrong, Donald Francois, Gerald Groner, Cheryl Boynes Jackson, Noel Loftus, and Juanita R. Young.

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