PUC approves 18.5% LEAC increase - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

PUC approves 18.5% LEAC increase

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - It's official: residents will now be spending more for power after the Public Utilities Commission approved a request from the Guam Power Authority to raise rates.

The increasing price of crude oil per barrel has forced GPA to petition for an increase in the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause. The LEAC is a means for the agency to adjust its rates for a six-month period in order to recover its cost for fuel. In December the Consolidated Commission on Utilities approved a 17% adjustment, but the PUC approved a slightly higher rate Monday night. "Georgetown Consultants, which are the PUC's consultants, came back and after more research their recommendation reflected a higher increase in the LEAC," said agency spokesman Art Perez. "And that's due primarily to the rise in fuel."

The increase for average customers who use about 1,000 kilowatts per hour was approved at 18.5%. That's a nearly $37 hike to your power bill. Customers who consume 2,500 kilowatts per hour will be paying about $92 more. Perez says they are aware of customers concerns and are already working on implementing a renewable energy program.

"We want to fast track as much as we can where we diversify our reliance on fuel and that's part of the plan GPA has going forward. Looking for ways to lessen the impact fuel has on ratepayers while at the same time providing a mix that's economical for Guam," he explained.

However, Perez admits that the program will not lead to any immediate power rate reductions. And while GPA says their efforts may take up to two years to complete, the Guam Energy Office offers some advice on how you can save on your power consumption.

"Just go around your house and look at what's consuming power, we have a lot of appliances on Guam like your washer, you can change your settings on the rinse cycle because you don't need hot water to rinse your clothes, you can go to your water heater and lower the thermostat in other words you don't have boiling water to take a shower with, on Guam because of the hot sun and hot water the office recommends to go out and get something to cover your roof, insulate it and also the windows," said Gerry Cruz with the GEO.

Cruz encourages residents to take advantage of their Appliance Rebate Program, wherein they help reduce spending cost for energy efficient appliances. "We live in the tropics and most of the power consumption on the island is due to air conditioning," he said.

In the meantime, the rate increase will be reflected in your March power bill.

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