Sen. Clynt Ridgell has introduced a bill to prevent both the Guam Power Authority (GPA) and Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) from back-billing its customers.
After fielding numerous complaints from throughout the community and after a long oversight hearing with the Guam Power Authority,
Ridgell has determined that the back-billing process is unfair and should be banned.
“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," Ridgell said in filig Bill 188-35. "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.”
Currently GPA and GWA are allowed to back-bill their customers for up to four months. Guam law allows GPA and GWA to base their back-billing on estimates rather than on actual consumption. This back-billing occurs as a result of faulty meters. GPA admitted during the oversight hearing that one out of every four meters fails.
“This is an unacceptable rate of failure and one that leads to a large amount of estimated back-billing. This is back-billing that many people simply can’t afford.” Ridgell said.