Guam – Despite significant spending on power generation, there has been no measurable improvement in the reliability of power distribution on Guam. That is one of the “determinations” in a PUC order based on the results of a report from Lummus Consultants last week.
The PUC order states that it is “disheartening that after the very significant GPA expenditures over the past few years through bonds and revenue funds on generation, transmission, and distribution that there has not been any measurable effect on improved reliability.”
And the order also calls it “disconcerting”, given GPA’s “significant reserve capacity”, that GPA has not been able to reduce the number of power outages which last year rose to a high of 914.
The order followed a report from Lummus Consultants which detailed the high number of outages, many of which, PUC Legal Counsel Fred Horecky says, went un-reported.
Horecky: “Overall the figures show that for 2013 the number of minutes of outage during the year were much higher than the year before.”
PNC: “By how much? Significantly?”
Horecky: “Yes, significantly.”
Horekey says, in all, the island experienced 914 power outages in 2013, according to a report submitted by Lummus Consultants which was presented at the PUC’s monthly meeting last Thursday.
Horecky: “It was approximately 680 minutes total for 2013. So that’s roughly 11 hour of outages.”
PNC: “Do we know what the priamry cause was?”
Horecky: “Equitment failure.”
Among the other causes, human error was to blame for 46 outages; construiction work caused 20; vegitation 43 outages. And the cause of 86 outages is un-known.
The outages include both those that were planned and announced ahead of time, and those that were unplanned surprises.
Horecky: “Some of the outages really weren’t getting much explanation, were just occurring. And of course there were a lot last year. So we did feel that in some cases we didn’t really understand what was the cause of the outage, how long did it last. And yes, that was a perception that led us to believe we needed more investigation.”
Surprisingly, the Brown Tree snake, which has caused some spectacular outages in the recent past, is not considered a major cause of power outages, accounting for less than 7% of the total.
In its order, the PUC is requiring GPA to file more detailed reports on outage occurrences, including
* reporting of all generator related offline trip events, their causes and duration, whether or not customers lost service
* a breakdown of whether the outage was related to generation, transmission and distribution
* the number of occurrences that resulted in under frequency load shedding
* and any information linking the outages to distribution circuits to track potential problem circuits
Horecky says the PUC’S goal is to get better reporting from GPA so the public is better informed about the outages and can better prepare for them.