Power bills to drop: Fuel surcharge rollback will take effect Dec. 1
By Bryan C. Sualog
Pacific Daily News
November 11, 2008
Guam Power Authority customers can look forward to lower power bills for at least the next few months.
The Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to approve the Guam Power Authority's request to lower the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause, or fuel surcharge, at a special meeting yesterday.
The surcharge, which makes up about two-thirds of power bills, was lowered from 18.775 cents per kilowatt-hour to 17.105 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The lower surcharge represents a 6.95-percent decrease in the total bill for an average customer.
"We're very pleased that they concurred with our recommendation," said Guam Power Authority General Manager Joaquin C. Flores.
The change effectively rolls back Guam's last increase. On Oct. 3, the fuel surcharge was increased from 17.044 cents per kilowatt-hour to 18.775 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The reduction will go into effect Dec. 1.
"Meters read after the first of December will enjoy the new rate," Flores said. "If you're consuming power and you're on or about the beginning of the month, when you get billed for December, then your consumption would be affected by this new rate decrease."
Flores said any break in prices would be helpful to ratepayers.
"It's about $16 to $17 for the average user," Flores said of the reduction.
Barrigada resident John Rosario said even though his power bill wasn't too bad, he was looking forward to a lower bill.
"Nowadays, every little thing to save money would be a big help," he said.
Rosario said he recently found out he needed to go to the Philippines for medical treatment., The money he will save from the fuel surcharge reduction would go toward his trip, he said.
Prior to the surcharge reduction, Rosario said he and his family implemented power-saving measures to save money, such as only turning on the air conditioner before they go to sleep and running the water heater for only one hour, at night.
"It's become a way of life now. It's easier for us," he said.
Rosario said he plans on continuing with the energy conservation practices to save even more money.
While some residents are excited and looking forward to the drop in their power bills, other residents aren't so optimistic.
Jaelene San Nicolas of Mangilao said she wasn't expecting much from the reduction because she expects the fuel surcharge will just go up again.
"I don't think it will help me. That's my point of view," she said.
Normally, the LEAC is adjusted every six months, but in October, GPA received informal approval from the Consolidated Commission on Utilities to begin a petition to lower power rates because of the rapidly falling price of fuel.
Any changes in oil pricing that are $2 million over or under the cost of fuel recovery allows the power agency to approach the PUC on an emergency basis.
Flores said a filing would have to be submitted Dec. 15 for the next LEAC adjustment in February. He said the next adjustment would "depend on how prices behave and whether they stay below $75 a barrel."
Flores said if crude oil stays below $75 a barrel, ratepayers will be able to enjoy the decrease through February.
"I think we made it very clear that it would be a reduction, subject to oil prices staying where they're at."
GPA Spokesman Art Perez said GPA's Web site will be updated to reflect the reduction in the fuel surcharge. The Web site is:
"They can log on, see what that change is going to be and make that adjustment," he said. "That will be a welcome relief for everybody as we continue to monitor this."
The site's calculator should be updated by the end of the week, Perez said.