Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Navy Water Increased Halted

Navy's water increase halted
by John Davis, KUAM News
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities received word Tuesday night of a temporary moratorium on the Navy's 100% rate increase to the Guam Waterworks Authority for water from Fena. The hike went into effect on October 1, despite opposition from GWA, the CCU, local elected leaders and Guam congressional delegate Madeleine Bordallo.

The Navy doubled the amount it charges GWA for water up from $2.09 to $4.95 per thousand gallons. CCU chairperson Simon Sanchez was one of many who said the increase was unjustified, telling KUAM News, "I received a call from Captain Paul Fuligni and then his number two, a Commander Tomea, and he says that it has reached Washington, DC and they will not bill us as of now for the higher amount until it is determined by the Navy upstream whether these are appropriate."

The Guam Waterworks Authority reported at last night's meeting that the utility agency could operate the Fena Water Treatment Plant for the same price the federal government was charging before the rate increase. Figures given to GWA from the Navy show that the Navy operates the Fena plant for $13 million a year, inclusive of the cost to outsource their operations and recover prior year losses. Sanchez says GWA could produce and distribute water to the navy and its customers for almost half that amount, noting "There's a $7 million difference per year in our view for what it would take to run the new Fena, versus what they want to charge us."

The CCU in the meantime will be approaching the Navy to see if they would agree to a non-binding independent review by the Guam Public Utilities Commission.

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