Discrepancies noted in audit of GPA - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Discrepancies noted in audit of GPA

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by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - Although it was designated as a clean audit, it doesn't mean the Guam Office of Public Accountability didn't find some discrepancies with the way the Guam Power Authority's been dealing with its finances.  A $14 million loss for GPA unveiled by the OPA's financial audit today does not have spokesperson of GPA Art Perez overly concerned despite the previous year's $10.4 million gain.

"The audit clearly says GPA is not 'swimming dough,'" the spokesman explained.  "We don't have the funds to do the extra work we want to do."

The audit cites rising oil prices, an increase in the cost of maintenance and operations -$1.3 million in salary and wage raises as part of the CTP's implementation, as well as the depreciation of equipment, GPA's inability to keep detailed cost records for its property plant and equipment as well as discrepancies within the department over fuel inventory reports.

"Last year was a tough year economically for those in the visitor industry, I think everyone aware of that, price of fuel went up, and that's reflective in the audit," said Perez.

There were a number of new findings in this years report from a lack of control over network activities, to incorrect late charges, to a failure to review customer deposit and low consumption accounts. But Perez says the audit also neglected to account for some growth at the agency saying DOE, GMH and GovGuam are finally current with their power bills.

He said, "We are keeping GovGuam current. That was one thing prevalent in previous audits.  Another one I believe is line losses, we've invested and improved the availability of our power system through aggressive maintenance and we've reduced those losses."

Going forward, GPA seeks to invest in more capitol improvement projects to offset the losses cited in the OPA findings. "We fix this to tightening up procedures to making the investments to offset increase in depreciation assets that's also reflected in audit by investing more into CIPs," he said.

Perez admits GPA is not where it wants to be but that the agency has plans underway to pursue smart grid technology, alternative renewable energy, lessen dependence on fuel oil, and implement more underground projects designed to make the utility agency stronger financially.  "At the end of day a financial audit is just a management tool, GPA is now tasked with becoming more accountable and efficient," he said.

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