CCU approves power rate cut
The Consolidated Commission on Utilities (CCU) on Tuesday approved the Guam Power Authority’s recommendation to lower GPA customer power bills by further reducing the levelized energy adjustment clause on GPA’s customers’ monthly energy statements to $0.110039 /kWh; a decrease of 18.2 percent from the current LEAC rate.
“This recommended lowering of the LEAC is a decrease of approximately 10.7 percent on the overall residential customer bill; such that an average residential consumption of 1000 kWh will see a decrease of approximately $24.43 to that customer’s monthly bill,” said GPA general manager John M. Benavente
“CCU Resolution 2020-08, was voted upon and approved today, to support GPA’s request to take action and further fuel savings to benefit all customers, most especially during this difficult period of the coronavirus outbreak,” said CCU chairman Joey T. Duenas.
Benavente said GPA will next petition the Guam Public Utilities Commission (GPUC) to request the adjustment to lower the LEAC through the remainder of the current LEAC period which is Feb. 1, 2020 through to July 31, 2020.
"GPA hopes that the GPUC is able to address CCU Resolution 2020-08 at its Thursday, March 26, 2020 regular meeting, so that power bill reductions become effective for GPA billings beginning April 1, 2020,” Benavente added. “Amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic tragedy, declining oil market prices contribute to lowering GPA’s cost for producing electricity. GPA is quickly moving to provide customers immediate relief resulting in lower monthly power bills."
Benavente said GPA provides the relief to help counter some of this pandemic’s huge financial hit on our community.
“If approved by the GPUC, the total reduction on an average residential customer’s bill based on a consumption of 1000 kWh, is approximately 18.6 percent; taking into account that on Jan. 30, 2020, the GPUC approved CCU Resolution 2019-16, and lowered the LEAC by 7.8 percent,” Benavente added.
At the 35h Guam Legislature, Sen. James Moylan filed a bill to provide a temporary reduction of the liquid fuel tax (LFT) for six months, to duplicate the rates levied prior to 2018.
"While there are discussions with the CCU to recommend rate reductions associated with fuel recovery costs, this legislation would add a direct savings at the gas pumps," Moylan said. "The measure provides a similar six-month reduction timeline as Bill 311-35, which is another relief effort introduced by Senator Moylan two weeks ago, and that one was focused on the business privilege tax reduction and helping businesses and their employees with some sustainability."
During the inauguration of the 35th Guam Legislature on Jan. 7, Moylan introduced Bill 10-35 proposing a permanent reduction of the liquid fueled tax. LFT. He now intends on tabling that measure to focus on this new legislation which would provide a much-needed balance at this time.
Opponents of the original bill were concerned by the nearly $2 million that the LFT reduction would have taken away from road maintenance projects.“The issue is not how much in new revenue the tax increase is generating, but how the Territorial Highway Fund is being expended right now as it encumbers many non-road repair related expenditures’, and needs to be right sized to ensure that its primary objectives are met," Moylan said.
“As we await potential federal funding to address issues such as mortgages, unemployment, and even financial relief into our community’s pockets, it is critical that we start looking at common necessities such as fuel, and finding ways to help make things more affordable for our families. This measure is one such approach, but still much more needs to be done, as we are all facing and will eventually emerge from this economic coma together," Moylan said.