The V.I. Water and Power Authority board announced Monday that Andrew Smith has been selected to serve as chief executive officer.
Interim Executive Director Noel Hodge has served in the position since March, after the departure of former CEO Lawrence Kupfer, who led the authority for three years.
Four months ago, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authoritys governing board embarked on an extensive interview process in search of VIWAPAs next chief executive officer, according to the statement released on WAPAs social media page Monday. The critical necessity to repower the leadership within VIWAPA is evidenced by the authoritys struggles, and by extension the territorys utility burdens, which have stemmed from continued underperformance at the leadership level.
Virgin Islanders are burdened with one of the highest electric rates in the world for inconsistent, unreliable service and WAPA has been struggling to pay its bills to creditors, fuel suppliers and even regulatory fees owed to the Public Services Commission.
The board has focused on establishing a foundation of diverse utility experience and financial expertise through a comprehensive leadership transformation, starting with Smith.
Smith began work Monday, and the governing board is looking forward to working alongside Mr. Smith to chart a path that leads to the holistic relief to the territorys long-standing utility burdens, according to the news release.
Smith, according to the news release posting, has nearly 30 years of experience in the electric utility, power generation and energy industry. Further, it said Smith most recently served as a consultant to the utility industry focusing on financial best practices, an area of expertise that will prove invaluable as VIWAPA strives to regain financial stability.
Smith has balanced his financial acumen with in-depth operational engagement that enables him to diligently understand the trade-offs between investment and reliability, according to the statement.