PSC must hold WAPA leaders accountable; WAPA must seize opportunity for change
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I'm sure many people read with interest the well-written story by Daily News reporter Lou Mattei about WAPA performance ("WAPA's claim that oil prices cause LEAC increases is 'simply incorrect'/Experts blame inefficiency for LEAC hike").
The Public Services Commission consultant pointed out industry efficiency standards that show the V.I. Water and Power Authority is underperforming by approximately 30 percent. WAPA clearly has an efficiency problem that is impacting every family and business with unnecessary energy costs. This hurts most those of modest income on a fixed budget.
This has to be looked at as an opportunity, which fortunately is within the V.I. Public Services Commission's (PSC) and WAPA's power to fix.
WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. and his chief engineer must provide a plan to improve efficiency to the levels that other power plants can and do achieve. The plan should include resources, training and plant improvements (if needed to get there).
The PSC must demand this plan and approve on a business case analysis basis resources requested. Most importantly the PSC then has to hold Mr. Hodge and his chief engineer accountable for meeting measureable efficiency improvements by specific calendar dates.
Being a believer in "continuous improvement" I was disappointed by quotes from Mr. Hodge that appear to indicate a defensive stance.
Mr. Hodge needs to see this as an opportunity to improve, to be a hero here by helping all Virgin Islanders. The PSC must not get distracted by minor issues Mr Hodge has with the report. Lets keep our eye on the big opportunity: establish the planned improvement timeline and the resources needed, and hold Mr Hodge and his chief engineer accountable for meeting the plan and schedule.
Other power plants do it, so can WAPA.
If not, it is the WAPA board's responsibility to change WAPA leadership to someone who can lead the continuous improvement people here deserve and must have.
The NFL regularly replaces coaches and general managers who don't succeed and so should we.
I'm sure we'd all like to see power bills eventually reduced - this is our money, not theirs - and a sound technical management plan and accountability must be demanded.
- Albert Lang, U.S. Navy Capt. (Ret.), St Croix