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Power bills going down by 10%

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Beginning this weekend, ratepayers can expect to see a reduction in their power bills. And it's the biggest decrease in over a year.

As expected, the Consolidated Commission on Utilities approved lowering the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause better known as the LEAC. Chairman Simon Sanchez explained, saying, "Last night the CCU approved a 10% reduction in your power bill - basically we approved a 15% reduction in the LEAC and the LEAC is about two-thirds of your bill."

As a result, effective for bills read beginning November 1st, for average households using 1,000 kilowatt hour will have their power bills lowered by about $27. "The drop in oil prices has created a situation where we can reduce the LEAC fuel charge earlier. Normally we don't touch it until February, but there are great savings emerging because of the falling price of oil that we wanted to pass that on as soon as possible to ratepayers."

The LEAC is adjusted twice a year- once in February and August. During both those months this year, the LEAC saw a small increase. "But this decrease is even bigger than the two increases because the oil has fallen so far," he explained.

And after months of seeing power bills increase, come February, could we see an even bigger decrease? "I don't think anyone is going to say they're going to stay this low forever, but I think the climate is right that the reduction we have now can be sustained in February because I think oil will still hover in these lower prices for a while but the one thing we've learned is oil is very fickle and any global event can change it."

Sanchez adds because the LEAC is reflective of fuel prices its also the reason why lately you've seen the price of gas drop along with shipping companies drop their surcharges. "The rising cost of fuel is responsible for 80% of your increase in your power bill since 2002 if we were paying the same fuel prices in 2002, today your power bill would only be 30% higher instead its almost 150% higher and it's all because of oil," he said.

While the CCU authorized GPA management to lower the LEAC, they still need to file a petition with the Public Utilities Commission for final approval - something Sanchez is confident will most likely happen. 
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