By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The government has extended the Prugråman Ayuda Para I Taotao-ta Energy Credit Program which provides utility credit of $500 to over 50,000 residential and commercial customers of the Guam Power Authority.
“The rising LEAC is straining energy affordability to GPA ratepayers, especially those unemployed, underemployed and those on fixed incomes,” GPA said.
The program's extension is authorized through Bill 357-36, which Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed Friday.
The bill, now Public Law 36-123, “recognizes that further relief is necessary to assist the people of Guam with the increased cost of power,” the governor said.
The credit will be reflected on the monthly bills of eligible GPA subscribers for five consecutive months.
The program was first implemented in July.
“An extension of the Prugraman Ayuda Para I Taotao-ta Energy Credit program allows for effective delivery of the needed assistance utilizing administrative procedures already in place. Extending the current program ensures that GPA customers continue to receive,” GPA said.
Limtiaco, GPA acting general manager, said the $100 monthly credit issued from July to November under the Prugråman Ayuda Para I Taotao-ta Energy Credit “has provided welcomed relief to all eligible ratepayers” and “helped ratepayers make ends meet and otherwise offset some of the economic impact of inflation.”
“Our community is still feeling the economic impacts of inflation and the global pandemic as they struggle to cover basic monthly expenses like utilities, gas and food. It is my hope that this relief will bring some comfort to our families over the holidays and as we prepare for the start of the new year,” Speaker Therese Terlaje said.
The governor also signed Bill 358-36, which extends the gas tax relief for another 180 days.
"The act was intended to help stabilize the rising price of gasoline on Guam by temporarily waiving the levy of excise taxes, automotive surcharges, and mass transit automotive surcharges on liquid fuel collected," the governor said after signing the bill, which is now Public Law 36-124.
The gas tax relief program was first established in June through Public Law 36-105.
"The period of the waiver provided in P.L. 36-105 was scheduled to expire today," the governor said.
She noted that the bill recognized "that the temporary waiver provided in the act yielded the intended result of stabilizing the price of gas" and that extending the waiver "is still necessary to help alleviate the high cost of fuel."
The bill appropriates funds to cover the gap in funding the extended waiver would otherwise cause for the identified government programs.
A portion of the funds received from the levy of these taxes and surcharges are dedicated by law to the Department of Public Works Guam Highway fund and the Guam Regional Transit Authority operations.