Senator urges rejection of power plant contract, but CCU approves anyway

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 is pushing for the rejection of Guam Power Authority’s proposed new power plant, saying the contract has been awarded to the company that was in charge of the Cabras 4 power plant when it exploded.

The contract in question was awarded to Korea Electric Power Company or KEPCO. According to bid documents, KEPCO and the Korea East-West Power Company or KEWP have entered into a consortium agreement for this project. The bid documents state that KEWP is responsible for 40 percent of the bid.

According to Ridgell, KEWP is the same company that was operating the Cabras 4 power plant when it exploded. GPA filed an insurance claim after the explosion and was awarded $125 million for the explosion from its insurer. GPA has said this $125 million will go towards helping pay for the construction of the new power plant.

“This is extremely concerning. Why would we award a contract worth billions of dollars to build and operate a power plant to a company that was operating the Cabras power plant when it exploded? It’s because of this I am calling upon the CCU to deny the approval of this highly questionable contract,” Ridgell said.

Despite the senator’s concerns, the Consolidated Commission on Utilities approved the new power plant contract after a heated exchange between Ridgell and CCU commissioner Simon Sanchez who, according to Ridgell, questioned the senator’s youth and inexperience.

But in an interview with Patti Arroyo on NewsTalk K57, Ridgell said the meeting was unproductive because instead of answering his concerns, the meeting had become “an oversight meeting on me.”

CCU commissioner Simon Sanchez also called into K57, saying he respects Ridgell and that the senator is entitled to his own view of the contract.

“But we were disappointed that he didn’t read all the documents and it seemed that his mind was already made up,” Sanchez said.

The power plant contract now goes to the Public Utilities Commission for final approval. Meanwhile, Sen. Ridgell is also scheduling an oversight hearing on the matter next week.