Legislation introduced to ban back-billing by Guam utilities

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Senator Clynt Ridgell introduced Bill No. 188-35 which seeks to prevent both the Guam Power Authority (GPA) and Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) from back-billing its customers. (PNC photo)

Senator Clynt Ridgell has introduced Bill No. 188-35 (COR) which seeks to prevent both the Guam Power Authority (GPA) and Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) from back-billing its customers.

According to Ridgell, he introduced the bill after receiving numerous complaints from throughout the community and after a long oversight hearing with the Guam Power Authority showed that the back-billing process is unfair and should be banned.

Currently, GPA and GWA are allowed to back-bill their customers for up to four months. However, Guam law allows GPA and GWA to base their back-billing on estimates rather than on actual consumption. Ridgell said this back-billing occurs as a result of faulty meters and GPA admitted during the oversight hearing that one out of every four meters fails.

Ridgell said this is an unacceptable rate of failure and one that leads to a large amount of estimated back-billing that many people simply can’t afford.

“Residents of Guam are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of living on Guam has increased significantly over the last decade. This includes the cost of utilities. Many ratepayers already have difficulty paying for their power and water and when they receive back bills that can cost in the thousands their pocketbooks are stressed even further. We leaders must act now to reverse this trend. This is one thing I can do to help the pocketbooks of Guam residents,” the senator said in a statement accompanying the bill.

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