CCU approves water rate increases; PUC to make final decision

(file photo)

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities has approved the Guam Waterworks Authority’s proposed water rate increases for the next three years.

Approved were a 10 percent rate increase for fiscal year 2022, another 10 percent increase in FY 2023, and a 7 percent increase in FY 2024.

This means that an average ratepayer using 7500 to 8000 gallons a month currently paying $99 a month would be paying $116 a month by 2024.

The rate increase schedule approved by the CCU will serve as a basis for a May 1, 2021, rate application update to be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission.

With a 5% increase during FY2020 and a 5% increase in FY 2021 earlier approved by PUC, the cumulative rate increase from FY2020 to FY 2024 will total 37 percent, if this new round of rate increases for the next three years is approved by the PUC.

This is 1 percent below the original cumulative rate increase proposed by GWA.

According to GWA, the rate increases are needed to fund the capital improvement projects required by GWA’s stipulated order.

GWA has been rebuilding the island’s antiquated water and wastewater facilities and has been working on a five-year rate increase plan to raise money for its capital improvement projects.

PUC earlier approved the first two years of the rate increase plan but then asked for more detailed studies before approving any more rate increases.

The current rate increase proposal is a result of those detailed studies and, if approved by the PUC, will be in effect for three years starting this October.

CCU Commissioner Simon Sanchez said the rate increases will pay for the building of new water lines.

Sanchez said that Guam’s water lines are too old and there’s too much leakage.

Although the water rates will increase, Sanchez said that with the new water lines, Guam’s ratepayers will benefit in the long run.

Of the proceeds from the proposed rate increases, 40 percent will go towards GWA’s infrastructure upgrade projects.

If approved by the PUC, the rate increases will be spread out over the next three years and the first increase will start in October.