Weekly Briefing Provides Hurricane Update, Explains WAPA Rolling Outages
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Government House Communications Director Richard Motta on Monday provided an overview of Governor Albert Bryan Jr.’s impending trips to Washington, D.C. and Chicago before introducing VITEMA Executive Director Daryl Jaschen with a hurricane forecast and providing information about rolling power outages conducted by the V.I Water and Power Authority.
Motta said Governor Bryan was leaving the territory Monday afternoon for Washington, D.C., where he was scheduled to meet with senior White House officials and several members of Congress concerning some of the administration’s key federal policy priorities, including the rum cover-over extension, the reopening of the refinery on St. Croix and waiver of the FEMA 10 percent cost-share requirement for disaster recovery projects.
While in Washington, Governor Bryan will host a luncheon for the board of directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates, for which the governor serves as the national Vice Chair. Governor Bryan is also set to receive the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved’s (NHIT) Health Equity and Inclusiveness Award at its 15th Anniversary Reception and Health Equity and Inclusiveness Awards Ceremony in recognition of the Territory’s efforts to both introduce health information technology initiatives and promote increased access to care for Virgin Islanders through heath information technology.
Following his week in the nation’s capital, Governor Bryan will travel to Chicago to participate in the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, where he will be one of the conference’s speakers.
As part of his hurricane update, Director Jaschen said a new tropical wave was expected to move off the west coast of Africa by Wednesday. Environmental conditions are forecast to be conducive for gradual development into a tropical depression late this week or weekend.
Jaschen said the National Hurricane Center shows a 70% chance of the depression becoming a tropical cyclone over the next seven days and that VITEMA will continue to monitor any potential threats to the Territory.
Jaschen said that while the threat of any tropical cyclone impact to the Territory remains extremely low for the next seven days, an excessive heat wave continues to make an impact to both the Territory and Puerto Rico. For the first 18 days in September, St Croix set heat records in 12 of those days, he said. Another heat advisory was issued today.
Motta said power outages that affected residents in the St. Thomas and St. John district over the weekend were caused by construction work on Saturday, Sept.16, during which a duct bank, which is a concrete or metal container used for protecting utility lines and cables, was punctured. The electrical cable inside the duct bank was damaged. The cable that was punctured is a primary cable that is part of Feeder 13, which delivers power from the Randolph Harley Power Plant to the Tutu Substation.
With Feeder 13 currently out of service due to damage sustained in the field, Motta said WAPA has been forced to rely solely on Feeder 12 to support the entire electrical load of the district. Feeder 12 does not have the capacity to meet the demands of all customers within the St. Thomas and St. John district, resulting in the need for power rotations. WAPA has been working around the clock since Saturday to identify the issue and to safely and quickly conduct repairs.
According to WAPA, once Feeder 13 has been fully repaired, the rotation schedule will end. Currently there is no estimated time of full restoration. Every block is expected to be two hours long and will repeat every six hours. The schedule is subject to change. However, changes that can be provided in advance will be shared with the community via WAPA Alerts and other media channels including PSAs on the radio.
And finally, Motta thanked the nine members of the 35th Legislature on behalf of Governor Bryan for their support of the legislation approving the exchange of land with the National Park Service that allows the Virgin Islands Government to acquire land on St. John for the construction of a new k-12 school, storm shelter, and community center.
“Friday’s vote advances a decades-long effort by the Government of the Virgin Islands to acquire land to construct a school at a central location in St. John to mitigate the challenges St. John students face who would otherwise have to endure a lengthy commute to attend school on St. Thomas,” Motta said. “This was undoubtedly an issue that brought passionate debate and discussion. As an administration, we look forward to continuing to work with the legislature and the St. John community as we progress in completing this new state-of-the-art facility.”
The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov