June 1: New date set for disconnection of delinquent power and water accounts

The CCU is planning to end its moratorium on the disconnection of delinquent utility accounts. (PNC file photo)

During Tuesday night’s Consolidated Commission on Utilities meeting, a new date of June 1, 2021, was set as the cut-off date for the disconnection of delinquent power and water accounts.

Earlier, the Guam Waterworks Authority set a date of May 15, 2021, for the disconnection of delinquent water accounts. But CCU commissioners said it would be better for both GWA and the Guam Power Authority to have a “unified” cut-off date to make it simpler for the ratepayers.

Both GWA general manager Miguel Bordallo and GPA general manager John Benavente agreed on the new date.

They also agreed on a 12-month payment plan under which delinquent ratepayers’ total arrears can be divided into 12 equal installments.

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“What we want to do is just take all of what someone owes and divide that by 12. So when the next month’s bill comes, they pay the current bill, plus that one-twelfth that they owe. That would make it more affordable or at least manageable for the delinquent ratepayers,” GPA’s Benavente said.

There’s no prepayment penalty if delinquent ratepayers decide to settle their arrears earlier than the 12-month allotted payment plan. On the other hand, those who opt not to agree to the payment plan will be subject to disconnection.

GPA is proposing that delinquent accounts be automatically enrolled in the 12-month payment plan. GWA is not yet ready for auto-enroll for now because it still needs to tweak its billing program software.

Delinquent ratepayers under the 12-month payment plan would have to be diligent in paying their monthly dues, otherwise, they will be disconnected.

Every month, delinquent ratepayers are required to pay their regular current bill for the month as well as their 12-month amortized back dues. If they miss a payment, they are sent a second bill and if they don’t pay that, they will be disconnected.

According to Benavente, 93 percent of GPA customers have been paying their bills while 7 percent, or about 3,400 customers, have arrears due more than 30 days.

For GWA, only 87 percent of ratepayers are in good standing, with 13 percent of ratepayers having due accounts past 30 days.