top of page
  • Writer's pictureAdmin

Uncertainty over CCU's validity cast doubt on the legitimacy of its decisions


Members of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities discuss the day's agenda during a meeting in October 2023. Screengrab from CCU's YouTube channel

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

While weighing the legalities of the proposed abolition of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, Sen. William Parkinson floated the subsequent question as to the validity of the body's actions and decisions.


Parkinson has introduced Bill 203-37, which was drafted by Attorney General Douglas Moylan, who sought the abolition of the CCU. The body's creation was not sanctioned by the Organic Act, the attorney general said.

William Parkinson

In an Oct. 6 legal opinion sent to Speaker Therese Terlaje, Moylan said "the CCU is 'inorganic' and in violation of the governor of Guam’s duty to provide these critical services for our people."


"As a result of the AG’s opinion and vociferous opposition to the legality of the CCU, there hung a cloud over the validity of the CCU," Parkinson said, speaking before the Rotary Club of Northern Guam on Tuesday.


Moylan is proposing that the oversight of utilities be restored to the governor but Parkinson was lukewarm about the idea.


"I remain very skeptical of the judiciousness of giving authority over the utilities back to the governor of Guam. It is not something the governor has ever sought or asked for," Parkinson said.


However, he stressed the need to settle the question once and for all, noting that Moylan's legal opinion "cast a shadow over" the legitimacy of the commission's actions and decisions.


ADVERTISEMENT

Established as an elective entity through a Guam statute in 2002, CCU functions as the board of directors for both the Guam Power Authority and the Guam Waterworks Authority. Its members are elected by Guam voters.


Joey Duenas, CCU chairman, told Parkinson that the commission was a requirement under bond covenants.


"We sent a letter to GEDA administrator Mel Mendiola requesting a legal opinion from bond counsel, an opinion we are still awaiting," Parkinson said.


While awaiting the bond counsel's opinion, Parkinson said he hopes that the issue sparks a community discussion to "add some clarity and finality" to the CCU's legal authority.


Parkinson is considering the possibility of eventually presenting the question to Guam voters. "I think ultimately this may be decided directly by the voters themselves," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Amid questions confronting its legal nature, CCU has been making unpopular decisions such as approving pay raises for the Guam Power Authority's management positions and increases in the levelized energy adjustment clause while Guam households have to bear with load shedding.


"In the end, the CCU is the governing board of our utility agencies and the responsibility for decisions regarding the utilities lay squarely at their feet," Parkinson said.


Also pending in the Guam legislature is Bill 201-37, which Parkinson said would resolve procurement protests that have hampered some of GPA's repair projects.


"Guam has quite a few diesel generators that need to be repaired, but GPA has been stuck in procurement protests with no end in sight," Parkinson said.


"Bill 201 clears the procurement hurdles that GPA is currently facing to ensure that these generators are maintained, overhauled and operated adding additional generation capacity toward the goal of ending load shedding," he added.


The generators, once repaired, are anticipated to generate an additional 40 MW to the grid.


"This project is time-sensitive because of the historical fluctuations in power usage," Parkinson said. "This project needs to be completed, and those generators put online by May 2024 in order to avert a summer of load shedding."


Subscribe to

our digital

monthly edition

Comentários


bottom of page