By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam's ratepayers will see an increase in their power bill beginning Nov. 1, the Guam Power Authority announced today, saying the rate hike
"will help the utility agency to pay down the under-recovery amount and purchase upcoming shipments of fuel for the island’s energy needs."
The increase in power bills is the result of additional fuel surcharges, known as the levelized energy adjustment clause or LEAC, which will go up $0.318576 per kilowatt-hour from $0.296043 per kilowatt-hour in September.
The LEAC hike equates to an additional 5.73 percent increase (about $22) on the average residential power bill, GPA said.
"This increase will go into effect for the period Nov. 1, 2022, through Jan. 31, 2023, during which the Public Utilities Commission will have the opportunity to assess the situation and adjust accordingly," GPA said.
GPA said the LEAC increase will help pay down the island’s current under-recovery amount of $41 million, which has come down from $47 million in August when global fuel prices skyrocketed this summer due to geo-political tensions.
“This was a difficult decision, but we are pleased with the PUC’s compromise that helps to minimize the rate increase for our customers, especially before the holidays, while allowing PUC the opportunity to review the LEAC in January again and take appropriate actions thereafter," said John M. Benavente, GPA general manager.
GPA said the LEAC increase will allow the agency to have the cash flow to purchase needed fuel for ongoing operations.
“This summer, our under-recovery was at $47 million, which was concerning. Though unfortunate, this increase will help the island to address the under-recovery amount, keep us moving forward until the new power plant is built, and help us to pay for future shipments of fuel," Benavente said.
Benavente said the LEAC increase will continue until the Ukudu Power Plant in Dededo is completed.
"The fuel prices are out of our control. We continue to deal with the unwavering costs of global fuel prices. Our systems now require the more environmentally friendly ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) and low sulfur residual fuel oil (LSRFO), which haven’t come down much in price," he added.
Benavente also noted that the utility agency has seen prices as high as $173 per barrel for LSRFO and $153per barrel for ULSD.
GPA said once the Ukudu Power Plant in Dededo is commissioned, residents will be able to enjoy considerable savings on their power bills and a cleaner environment as a result of the cleaner-burning fuel.
Until then, GPA pleaded with its customers to be patient and understanding.
“GPA continues to keep our customers’ needs as its top priority. Our team is strategically moving us toward an affordable and stable energy future," Benavente said.
Earlier this year, officials broke ground on the Ukudu Power Plant project.
"While the plant is being built, we remain committed to reducing costs in all other facets of our operations and continue helping our customers find ways to reduce their consumption to find some reprieve in their power bills,” Benavente said.