Typhoon Dolphin left Guam with $3.5M in power costs
Typhoon Dolphin may be long gone, but the costs it has left to our island's power system and operations are in the millions. The Guam Power Authority has tallied-up the expenses associated with the storm, and according to the consolidated utility services general manager John Benavente, they are looking at $3.5 million in costs.
"A million-and-a-half of that though is related to one of the main transformers at the power plant that actually failed not to long after the typhoon," Benavente explained. "So we are actually working to get reimbursement of that transformer for the cost of a new one."
He says that the Cabras I transformer at the Piti Power Plant failed - that transformer produces 62 megawatts of power for the island. In the interim Guam Power Authority engineers have brought smaller generators from the Dededo plant in order to make up for the failure but only produces 42 megawatts of power, so they are looking towards the federal emergency management agency for reimbursement.
"The fortunate part was that because Guam was declared a disaster area we could get as much as 75 percent of that reimbursed by FEMA and actually our team has been working in putting all the data together and has been submitting it all to FEMA," Benavente added.
So how does GPA intended to fund the rest of the costs? "The Public Utilities Commission has allowed GPA to provide a surcharge on your bill that surcharge is what you call a self-insurance fund. That self-insurance fund is built up close to $20 million and that's really made specifically for disasters similar to this," he explained. He says that the fund works just like regular insurance coverage and GPA must meet a deductible before being able to pull from the fund.
"So whatever we don't recover minus $200,000, we can tap the self-insurance fund and reimburse the organization so that we are not financially burdened from making sure that our debt service coverage are there to comply with all this other bond conveyance," he said.
According to Benavente they expect completion with the submission of documentation to FEMA and anticipate reimbursement within one to two months.