Report: GPA's generation of electricity needs improvement - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Report: GPA's generation of electricity needs improvement

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - The Guam Power Authority is making changes after a consultant hired by the Public Utilities Commission shed light on just how unreliable GPA's system has been over the years.

Commissioner Fred Horecky said, "Luminous did an in depth study of the reliability issue they went back through most of 2013 they categorized all the unplanned outages that had occurred and found that there were approximately 913," he explained.

These outages varied in length some very short lasting only minutes but those 913 outages are equivalent to over 11 hours of the power being out. According to Horecky, Luminous compared GPA's reliability to other utility agencies such as Hawaii, and the American Public Power Association and found that GPA was not stacking up well. "In 2012 it looked like the reliability of the system was improving from 2011 but the unfortunately in 2013 the reliability statistic seemed to take a nose dive," he added.

Equipment failure was the biggest cause of the unreliability of the system. Luminous found that there had not been improvement in the last three years in reliability for GPA and measures should be taken to improve that reliability. "The commission is considering a phase two for this project which would involve our consultants to look more deeply at the system and reliability and perhaps coming up with solutions or recommendations to GPA," he said.

GPA has implemented some measures to start addressing the issues of reliability such as the Smart Grid. Horecky says hopefully that will help them to understand the root cause. GPA spokesperson Art Perez confirms that the agency is taken steps to improve reliability, saying, "We agree with them that we need to improve in the areas of reliability and we have action plans for that as I mentioned recently there was an approval for a bond borrowing bill to address a lot of the system reliability issues that we have."

Bill 207 now public law will also allow GPA to secure battery backup storage to fill the gap if a generator goes offline allowing for power to continue while other generation units are brought online. On the operations and maintenance side of the house he says GPA continues to issue out scheduled outage notices. "GPA continually issues out many scheduled outages notices you can go on KUAM see some of the scheduled outage notices in different areas that is a way to prevent outages," he said.

Horecky says the PUC has issued an order for the reporting requirements so that the public would be advised of unplanned outages. This order requires immediate reporting by GPA monthly, quarterly and annually.

We should note that Perez says while it may be challenging to report an outage that occurs within two to three minutes they are working internally to form a process to update the different stakeholders identified by the PUC. 
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