VIDEO: Senator Tom Ada Offers Plan to Ensure $14 Million in Unspent ARRA Funds is Not Lost

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Guam – Senator Tom Ada is appealing to Governor Eddie Calvo to help ensure that $14 million dollars in ARRA funds awarded to the Guam Energy Office are not lost because the Energy Office has been slow in spending the funding.

At a hearing before Senator Ada’s Utilities Committee Wednesday, Guam Energy Office Administrator Lorilee Crisostomo acknowledged that the reason why the funds have not been spent is that the Energy Office has not filled out all the necessary paperwork.

“And here we are in 2011 about four months 120 days from the deadline that these funds have to be obligated and here we are just now coming up to the starting gate to put paperwork together and issue them for solicitations,” said Senator Ada.

Senator Ada has suggested that the the Energy Office use GPA’s energy conservation consultant as a master contractor to facilitate the spending of the ARRA funding.

“I don’t think we can afford to sit back and say it’s in DPW’s hands now, I think we need to continue looking for other options to ensure that we meet the deadlines,” said Ada.

“For example the Guam Power Authority has been developing it’s demand site management program to see how the consumers might be able to reduce the consumption of energy through energy conservation measures so they’re actually already set up,” said the Senator.

GovGuam still has to go through the procurement process which requires them to send out RFP’s, receive bids, and select a winning bidder before they can even begin to spend the money. If done quickly this could take two months which leaves them with only two months to spend the money. This is all assuming that there aren’t any protests on the bids.

In 2009 the Guam Energy Office was eligible to receive $19 million dollars in American Recovery and Re-investment Act funding to retrofit Gov Guam offices and buildings to make them more energy efficient.

It has been roughly three years and now they are approaching the September 30th deadline for spending the money. So far they have only spent roughly about four million dollars.

The ARRA funds the Energy Office got were meant to be spent on retrofitting GovGuam agencies with energy saving devices, which could have saved GovGuam millions in additional funds in the future.

The Guam Energy Office compares badly with the CNMI’s use of its ARRA energy funds. The Commonwealth got the same grant of $19 million and they have already obligated 90% of their funding and are well on their way to spending the entire $19 million.

Guam on the other hand is just getting started.