GPA to present 10.5% power bill reduction for customers

Simon Sanchez. PNC file photo

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities (CCU) is expecting to discuss, and vote on, a GPA resolution to lower power bills on Guam by 10.5%.

Simon Sanchez, a CCU Commisioner, told K57’s Patti Arroyo this morning the proposal would be for an overall reduction in GPA bills.

Sanchez said GPA General Manager John Benavente is running sensitivity analysis reports to ensure they break even and don’t “dig themselves too much into the hole.”

He said from the analysis, Benavente has indicated that 10.5% would be a healthy reduction in GPA bills, that would bring relief to ratepayers across Guam.

“It’s the only good news in this horrible coronavirus tragedy, we’re all going through. But the sooner we can pass the savings onto our ratepayers, the better,” said Sanchez.

This proposed bill decrease, would be in addition to the 8% drop in the fuel surcharge from February, which lowered the rate by 2 cents, from 15.4, to 13.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Sanchez said the CCU is meeting today, Tuesday, at noon to discuss the proposal, among other items, so they can pass on any savings immediately.

If approved by the PUC, Sanchez said this rate decrease would go into effect immediately, as soon as bills dated after April 1.

“We’re sensitive to not digging the hole deeper than it needs to be but, John [Benavente] is pretty confident in the analysis we see on the global markets for at least the next 6 months. He’s recommending a mid-term correction in April of 10.5% on the total bill,” said Sanchez.

The CCU will be meeting in-person today, Tuesday, at 12 pm. The meeting will be held at the GPA conference room and Sanchez said all social distancing precautions are being taken, including ensuring everyone is at minimum 6-feet away.

The meeting will be aired live on YouTube for the public and media to tune in to eliminate additional people in the conference room.

“We’re doing everything we can to practice social distancing by the governor, and yet, get the work done so we can pass these savings on to ratepayers as soon as possible,” said Sanchez.

Any approved resolution still has to get final sign off by the PUC, which typically meets the last Thursday of the month.

Sanchez also said they’ll be discussing extending their “no disconnections and payment deferral” orders past its current March 31 deadline.

He said confidently that there will continue to be no disconnections for those unable to pay their bill, as the island grapples with layoffs and unemployment from COVID19 impacts.

“I know common sense will prevail. I’m sure we’ll accommodate anyone who’s struggling right now. That’s what we have to do right now. Let’s get through it. We have time to sort it out later, but for now, people need their power and their water and we’re not going to cut them off,” said Sanchez.

The CCU will also be discussing cleaning up old accounts and writing off delinquent accounts, according to the commissioner.