Updated: Jun 17
Guam consumers advised to conserve power
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam's ratepayers must brace for two more rounds of power rate increases this year starting next month, the Guam Power Authority announced as it advised consumers to conserve power to lower their bills.
Effective July 1, the levelized energy adjustment clause on LEAC will increase from $0.209522 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to $0.251638/kWh. For residential customers, this represents an average increase of 13.72 percent or $42.12 on their total power bill.
Then, effective Sept. 1, the LEAC will increase $0.296043/kWh, an additional 12.72 percent increase, or $44.41, to the average residential power bill.
The Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved GPA's petition for the two-tiered LEAC raise.
“The price of oil continues to rise exponentially around the world. Consequently, the PUC has determined an increase in the LEAC is also necessary," said John Benavente, general manager of the Guam Power Authority.
"With fuel costs higher than ever, the PUC commissioners are supporting GPA’s petition and doing what is necessary to ensure viable GPA operations allowing GPA to have enough cash to purchase fuel to keep the lights on. The fuel cost will add $100M to this year’s operational costs," he added. “We understand the hardship this causes our customers. As we are all feeling the increase at the gas pumps, there is a direct correlation between the increase in fuel prices to the increase in the LEAC. We are tirelessly looking for solutions to lighten the burden on our customers," Benavente said.
He said savings from the addition of the new solar farms have been realized but aren’t apparent to customers because of the surge in fuel costs.
“The rates would have been higher had the new KEPCO 60 MW Marbo solar farm not started producing energy that is expected to save ratepayers $1.5M per month in reduced fuel expenses," Benavente said
“We will not stop looking for solutions to alleviate the impact of rate increases on our customers,” he said. According to Melinda Mafnas, assistant general manager of operations, GPA continues to work to find a solution.
She said GPA is exploring a funding source to offset increases in the fuel surcharge so that customers don’t have to bear the burden. GPA is also working with the 36th Guam Legislature to offset the proposed increase. “We have worked diligently to operate as efficiently as possible, which has allowed us to keep the base rate consistently low for more than 25 years. In the past decade, GPA has raised the base rate by less than two cents," Mafnas said.
"In the past 25 years, the increase has been right under four cents. This means that the LEAC increases have been a direct result of fluctuating oil prices.” “Guam and the world have been hit with the uncontrollable price of crude oil. I’m confident we will get through this with our customers, and find relief when the new Ukudu power plant is commissioned,” she added.
GPA is also providing energy-saving tips to power consumers to help manage and ultimately reduce their monthly power bills:
Set your air conditioner’s thermostat to 75oF. Cool your house by using fresh air before turning on your air conditioner. Set your water heater to 110o to 120oF
Wash full loads of laundry in cold water after 9 p.m.
Unplugging small appliances and fully charged devices every time you leave the house can lead to savings of $2.50 a day.
“GPA offers simple tasks that if practiced, will help customers save power and money while decreasing the demand during the peak hours between 6 - 9 p.m," Mafnas said.
"That may not seem like much, but that’s a savings of $75 every month. If families reduce the use of air conditioners by doing more outdoor activities, opening their windows more often, water blasting their roofs, tinting the windows of their homes, and barbecuing," she added.