CCU proposes changes to utility back-billing

CCU Commissioner Simon Sanchez (PNC file photo)

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities will propose changes to its current back-billing procedures.

CCU Commissioner Simon Sanchez told Andrea Pellacani on NewsTalk k57 that it will disclose the changes during today’s public hearing on Bill No. 188-35 (COR), introduced by Sen. Clynton E. Ridgell, which seeks to repeal back-billing.

Sanchez acknowledged that there were problems in the informing of customers who were going to be back-billed.

“So we are going to propose a change in the front end of the back-billing process where we have to catch a failed meter faster and tell a customer sooner so that they don’t get surprised,” Sanchez said.

He added that slowly but surely, the CCU has already started this process.

“Now we have a process. We send letters now. We changed the process in the last year and actually sent out letters to customers informing them that hey, there may be an issue with your meter and we will now apply the back-billing protocol,” Sanchez said.

Under the back-billing protocol, the utility informs the customer that they will be putting in a good meter, measure the customer’s usage for two months, make that the customer’s average usage, and then use that average usage to estimate the customer’s bill for the time that the meter didn’t work.

“And it cannot go back four months. so that’s the incentive for the utility to change the meter fast,” Sanchez said.

But one thing that Sanchez is adamant about is that back-billing cannot be scrapped altogether.

“You cannot get rid of back-billing because if you do, people are going to get free services and other ratepayers are going to have to pay for it. And that’s not fair to the other ratepayers who are paying their own bills,” Sanchez said.

The public hearing on Bill No. 188-35 (COR) starts at 1:00 p.m. at the Guam Congress public hearing room.