GPA mandated to reimburse customers for broken appliances resulting from power outages
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
With frequent power outages causing damage to electrical appliances and devices, the Guam Power Authority is mandated by law to reimburse its customers for the cost of ruined white goods, Sen. William Parkinson said.
The senator said GPA officials, in an earlier oversight hearing, confirmed that the utility agency sets aside $11 million each year to fund appliance damage claims.
The reimbursement for the cost of broken appliances caused by power surges, voltage fluctuations or frequency fluctuations in the power supplied by GPA is mandated by Public Law 22-21, authored by Parkinson's father, the late Speaker Don Parkinson.
“The law says GPA is liable for damages when appliances break because of the instability of power supplied by GPA, and it must be followed," the younger Parkinson said.
“GPA says they set aside $11 million to pay these claims. Well, let’s see it. All of that money should be paid out to customers who have had air-conditioners and other electrical appliances break. GPA shouldn’t be holding on to that money. This fiasco is their liability under the law," he added.
While Guam has been experiencing power supply instability in recent years, the situation was worsened by Typhoon Mawar, which caused further damage to the GPA's aging power plants.
Since the storm, GPA has resorted to load shedding that entailed power outages on a daily basis.
"Many of us have experienced significant inconvenience and financial loss due to damaged appliances, like air conditioners, resulting from power fluctuations. It's only fair and just that GPA takes responsibility for these damages," Parkinson said.
The senator sought GPA records of the claims and payouts it has made in the last five years.
“I will not stop until every cent of that money for destroyed appliances is paid out to the people of Guam," Parkinson said.
He also requested that GPA’s customer service centers provide dedicated representatives to assist customers in filling out claim forms, as consumers only have 90 days to file a claim from the time of damage.
“This process shouldn’t be cloaked in secrecy and obfuscated from the public. There needs to be transparency and accountability, and GPA needs to start paying out claims immediately," Parkinson said.
Parkinson will be holding town halls in villages around the island to help consumers with the filing of claims for damaged appliances with CCU. A schedule will be announced shortly.
"GPA upper management has some audacity to be putting out campaigns about saving power by cooking rice during non-peak times or having air fryer cornish game hen for Thanksgiving," he said.
"They are asking the people of Guam to sacrifice time and again for a situation of the CCU's own making. Our duty as a government is to ensure that our citizens lead quality lives, and the CCU has failed in providing our people's basic needs like reliable electricity," he added.