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MAPP: We Will Wait For 260 Workers From U.S. Mainland To Connect The Territory With Electricity … Governor Says They Arrived Today … St. Croix Will Be Last!

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Mapp-Potter Administration said that the majority of U.S. mainland workers will begin work on St. Thomas immediately.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp said that the workers will concentrate on energizing St. Thomas first, and then move workers and equipment to St. Croix.

“Governor Mapp and Lt. Governor (Osbert) Potter are pleased to welcome the more than 260 linemen from three electric companies across the United States that arrived in the U.S. Virgin Islands today,” Government House said on Facebook. “The crews will work on all three islands to augment electrical restoration efforts. WAPA reports that large shipments of equipment are also arriving this week. The linemen are expected to be deployed across the territory beginning on Friday. Let’s give them all a warm Virgin Islands welcome!”

The American Red Cross said that WAPA asked for 2,000 linemen from the U.S. mainland. Eventually, about 460 lineman will arrive from the mainland, according to reports, but the focus will be on restoring electricity to St. Thomas first, the local government admitted.

The last official WAPA update said that 15 percent of electricity has been restored to St. Thomas-St. John and 10 percent to St. Croix.

WAPA said late Wednesday that it was experiencing “an increase in the theft of copper from its transformers, poles, equipment and hardware that were toppled during Hurricanes Irma and Maria.”

Additionally, copper thieves are toppling transformers which is an environmental hazard. WAPA said that “copper theft, even on damaged equipment, is against the law.”

WAPA gave this latest update on Thursday:


• Restoration and reconstruction crews made steady progress in both island districts on Thursday. On St. Croix, line crews continued to restore circuits toward the Hannah’s Rest intersection and to Five Corners. Replacement poles were planted in the Golden Rock area while debris removal crews cleared downed equipment in Sunny Isle, Smithfield and Enfield Green.

• On St. John, line crews continued the reconstruction of electrical circuits from Mongoose Junction toward Cruz Bay, and from Cruz Bay east to the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center. Once electrical service has been restored to the WAPA East End Substation near the armory in Nazareth, portions of Cruz Bay can then be energized.

• On St. Thomas, some crews worked in Lindbergh Bay planting poles toward Gladys Abraham Elementary School. Other crews reconstructed primary circuits on portions of Feeder 6A along Hardwood Highway, Feeder 7A to Patriot Manor, and Feeder 10A toward the most eastern entrance to Frenchtown. Following Thursday’s work, about 90-95% of the Paul M. Pearsons Garden housing community has been energized, while sections of Sugar Estate were restored along with two additional buildings in the Oswald Harris Court housing community. In addition, daily progress is being made on the construction of the transmission feeder to energize the WAPA East End Substation. This substation will allow for the energizing of the submarine cable that provides electricity to St. John.

• WAPA is advising residents that it is necessary to shut off standby generators when line crews are in your neighborhood restoring electrical service. A standby generator has the potential to back feed electricity to the grid which poses a severe safety risk to restoration crews.

• WAPA is reminding the public that copper theft, even on damaged equipment, is against the law. We are experiencing an increase of instances of copper theft from transformers, poles, equipment and hardware that were toppled during the two hurricanes. Additionally, copper thieves are toppling transformers which is an environmental hazard.

• Residents are asked to refrain from cutting damaged or toppled poles. Poles that were damaged must remain in place to allow WAPA to properly document the damage when replacement poles are planted. Once poles are cut or removed by residents, WAPA is unable to seek reimbursement for the damaged pole.

• WAPA personnel has removed electrical meters at locations where damage was apparent to either an electrical meter base and/or weather head. In these instances, the customer is responsible for all repairs. WAPA will not reinstall meters until repairs are made by a licensed electrician. Home and business owners are advised to make repairs to their damaged weather heads and or meter bases as soon as possible. Once crews have reached your neighborhood, customers who have not had their weather head or meter base repaired, will not have service immediately restored.


• A reminder that a precautionary boil water notice for potable water customers is in place territory-wide. Due to a drop in water pressure, as a precaution, we advise that all water used for drinking, cooking, making infant formula or juices, making ice, brushing teeth, washing fruits or vegetables and washing dishes, be boiled. Bringing water to a rolling boil and maintaining for one full minute is sufficient. Water must be adequately cooled before it can be used and should be stored in clean, covered containers. As an alternative, bottled water certified for sale by the Department of Health may be used.

• There are three days of water storage on St. John; six days on St. Thomas and three days on St. Croix.

• On St. Croix, the Concordia pump station remains off line awaiting equipment repair. As a result, lower than usual water pressure is being experienced by customers from mid-island to Frederiksted.

• On St. Thomas, efforts continue to energize the Savan and Contant pump stations. Restoring those facilities will provide a resumption of potable water service to Savan, Contant and surrounding areas including the Contant Knolls housing community.


• All electrical problems must be reported to the WAPA Emergency Call Centers to be properly documented and tracked. These problems include, but are not limited to, electrical service interruptions as well as damaged and downed facilities such as poles, transformers, and power lines. The WAPA Call Centers are now operating 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days per week. St. Thomas – St. John: 340-774-1424 and St. Croix: 340-773-0150.

• The Authority’s Customer Service Offices are functioning in both districts. On St. Croix, customers can conduct business at the Authority’s offices in Sunny Isle. In the St. Thomas-St. John district, a temporary customer service location has been established at WAPA’s offices in Port of Sale Mall. In both districts, customer service representatives are available from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Self-service payment kiosks are also available at both locations during these hours.

• WAPA’s office telephones are operational in both districts. St. Croix: (340) 773-2250 and St. Thomas – St. John: (340) 774-3552.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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