Public Services Commission Virgin Islands, Building Bridges

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Water And Electricity

The Public Services Commission has been assigned broad and substantial authority in regard to the regulation of utilities in the Virgin Islands by the Legislature. That jurisdiction includes all parties providing electrical or water supply service, and further provide that all public utilities are required “to furnish service and facilities reasonably safe and adequate and in all respects just and reasonable.” 30 V.I.C. § 2. The Commission’s authority is to be liberally construed to effect its purposes. 30 V.I.C. § 41.

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s purpose is to furnish water supply and electric power services. While WAPA was originally created to operate solely under the control of its board, including setting its own rates, the Legislature subsequently placed WAPA within the jurisdiction of the Commission. The Attorney General of the Virgin Islands formally opined that Act of July 11, 1973, No. 3460, Sess. L. 1973, p. 164, put the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission when it fixes utility rates. 7 V.I.Op.A.G. 196. The Legislature has directed that the Commission shall have “power to determine and by order fix and order to be substituted therefor such rate or rates, charges, or schedules as shall be just and reasonable.” 30 VIC § 23. The PSC is required by law to review those charges and services no less than every five years.