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Hurricane Season

WAPA’s ...

WAPA’s Financial Frailty Hindering Utility’s Ability to Prepare for Possible Hurricanes

  • Janeka Simon
  • July 13, 2024

The V.I. Water and Power Authority’s ability to respond to a Category Four hurricane currently stands at four out of ten, with circumstances unlikely to change between now and September. That is the assessment the Public Service Commission received from Don Gregoire, WAPA’s Water Systems director, during Wednesday’s meeting of the PSC. The utility's chronically precarious financial situation is to blame, Mr. Gregoire told commissioners. “Our primary focus right now is just to keep the lights on and keep our WAPA employees paid,” he noted. The lack of finances prevents WAPA from filling water and fuel tanks to a sufficiently high level to offer protection against damage from high winds in a powerful storm. As Mr. Gregoire explained, the ideal scenario would be to have metal storage tanks filled to 75-80% capacity, to enhance the tank’s ability to withstand strong gusts. However, “to achieve that number, to reach that capacity, it's going to be quite an investment. Definitely not capit...