Guam – The Guam Power Authority is reviewing a recent rate hike which slammed about 15-hundred mostly commercial customers with big increases in their power bills.
GPA managers met Tuesday morning to figure out what went wrong and what they’re going to do about.
1,500-hundred customers, almost all of them commercial and GovGuam users, were socked with power bill increases of 50% or more.
It was a mistake, as CCU Chairman Simon Sanchez freely admits, but GPA is still sorting out how it happened. Until they do, GPA says that no one will be disconnected until the problem has been sorted out and corrected.
The base rate increase that took effect last month was intended to raise the average consumer bill by roughly 3% and commercial and GovGuam users should have only seen a 4% to 7% increase.
But there was an additonal change in the new rate schedule and that was the creation of a new “demand charge” category. It is the immplamentaion of the “demand charge” that is believed to be at the root of the problem.
The category was created for users who at times have a need to place sudden demands on the system for more power. Such customers are hotels whose occupancy rates and power demands vary with the fluctuations in visitor arrivals, and island schools whose power needs rise in the fall, but drop off in the summer months.
GPA must have in reserve the capacity to delivery power to those customers when they demand it and, like utilities stateside, GPA is placing such customers in that “demand” category which bills at a higher rate.
Sanchez says that at least 800 of the 1,500 bills in question appear to have been placed in that “demand charge” category and they will be re-billed.
Meanwhile, Senator Tom Ada says the big increases in power bills were first brought to his attention last week and he has called an informational briefing Thursday night seeking a full explanation from GPA.