CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority told its customers that bills issued this month will represent a sixty-day service period as the authority “works to rebuild and restore both its automated metering and billing systems.” Each system was “severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, and efforts continue toward(s) full restoration,” according to WAPA.
“The 60-day bill, beginning with those issued on March 10, 2020, will allow the Authority to recover more than $20 million in payments that are due for electrical and potable water service that has been provided but which has not been billed,” Chief Financial Officer Debra Gottlieb said.
In order to assist customers and facilitate timely payment of the current and previously unissued bills, the authority said it will allow payment plans as follows: ½ in the first month, and the remainder in three monthly installments in addition to the regular monthly payments. Customers enrolled in the payment plan, must remain current with the regularly issued monthly bills.
“WAPA must move to address the amounts that remain unbilled and uncollected to allow the public utility to meet its own obligations and maintain electrical and water services to residents and businesses in the territory,” said Executive Director / CEO, Lawrence J. Kupfer.
Since the full amount of the 60-day bill will be due 20 days from the bill date, customers who are enrolled in Auto Pay are advised to visit the WAPA Customer Service offices to make the necessary adjustment to their automated payment if they wish to take advantage of the three-month payment plan.
Customers wishing to establish the 60-day bill payment plan must visit the Authority’s Customer Service offices during regular business hours and prior to the due date on the bill.
The offices are located at Sunny Isle on St. Croix, The Marketplace on St. John, and at Port of Sale Mall on St. Thomas. To contact by telephone, on St. Croix, call 340-773-2250, select option 5, and on St. Thomas, St. John, Water Island, and Hassel Island, call 340-774-3552, select option 5.
To provide additional opportunities for customers to participate in the payment plan, the Authority has increased the operating schedule of “Service Saturdays” which will occur on Saturday March 14th, March 28th, April 4th and April 18th. On “Service Saturdays” customers can complete payment arrangements, pay bills, and seek clarification regarding both water and electric bills.
Meanwhile, the new WAPA billing procedure incurred the wrath of Virgin Islands Free Press readers.
“Question. Doesn’t WAPA have insurance for disasters?” Lawd Send Help wrote. “Wow, can’t anyone in the U.S. government see that Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands can’t self govern. When will someone stop these highly educated morons from this disaster.”
And another dedicated V.I. Free Press reader wrote this comment.
“I don’t know if it’s even legal to bill after 2 1/2 years!” Douglas Williams said. “Seems sketchy to me.”