GPA needs to check its meters, shouldn’t get away with predatory practices just because it controls the monopoly on power

By Joe Q. Public

In May of 2023 my house, like everyone else’s, was knocked off the power grid by Typhoon Mawar.  By mid-June I was reconnected by Guam Power Authority.  I was lucky.  I was grateful.  Many families waited much longer.

In November I was at the GPA office for an administrative matter and the customer service representative asked me if I knew that my power consumption was unusually low. I said I did not know this.

She then opened a line of questioning that I did not realize until after the fact was of an investigatory nature. It included “Do you still reside in the home? Is the home equipped with air con? How many air conditioners are there? How often are they are used? Do you cook with gas or electric? Do you own a clothes washer and dryer?” I answered everything.  Generally I’m a helpful soul.

She then stated that, based upon my post-typhoon power consumption, I could barely be running a single electric fan let alone lights and the appliances I had just confirmed owning and using regularly.  She asked me how I did not notice the drop in my total power bill and why I didn’t contact GPA to report it. The inference was very real and very scary:  GPA suspects that I may be stealing power.  

I was then informed that back in July my account had been quietly flagged for low power consumption and an investigation opened into my use of power.  This investigation included two visits to my house that month by GPA “Revenue Protection Agents.”  I was never told, and I guess the dogs forgot to let me know.

GPA’s determination was that – despite registering low total power consumption – the meter is operational; subsequently, there has been no follow up.  Since July.  One of the still unidentified Revenue Protection Agents who had been to my home was called and confirmed this.

At no time in the past five to six months was I informed that my meter may be faulty, that Revenue Protection Agents had been sent to my home, or an investigation into my power consumption/power hook-up had been initiated.  It was all done in secret.  Indeed, it was at this moment that it hit me.  All those questions I had just been asked and answered a few minutes ago was part of this ongoing secret investigation.

I continue to receive GPA bills that by any reasonable measure are artificially low. This is happening because although the meter is operational, it clearly is malfunctioning. It is likely the meter has been malfunctioning since power was restored and it began running again after the typhoon.  But when I asked if it is possible the meter was somehow damaged by the typhoon, I was told this is highly unlikely. “It just doesn’t happen,” was the response.

Clearly the meter needs to be changed out.  I asked when that might happen and was told only, “We are not changing out meters at this time.” No estimation of when the fix will be made. I said that I would like to be present when this takes place, and this too was dutifully entered into the investigatory case file.

GPA has known since July that the meter at my house is malfunctioning. Fixing it is not their priority.  Instead the power authority chose to secretly open a months-long investigation into my power usage that apparently is still not concluded. An investigation with criminal implications (stealing power is a crime) without first informing me the reason for asking me questions about my ownership of electric appliances and use habits.

GPA, which has resorted to publishing a “Notice of Potential Rotating Power Outage Schedule” at the beginning of every month because it cannot meet demand on an island with fewer residents, fewer tourists, and fewer businesses than in years past, and assigned blame for this on the one and only significant typhoon we’ve had since 2002, takes the default position that when meters fail customers it does have left are stealing from them.  The irony!  The hypocrisy!

If I had not gone to GPA on a separate and unrelated matter I may still be in the dark about this investigation. In the meantime, there is no timeline as to when the issue will be resolved.

On an individual level there are several straightforward questions of a “how does this happen” and “where do we go from here” nature.

But what about the big picture questions?  From ‘How widespread (or not) is this meter problem at GPA post-Mawar’ to ‘Is this an acceptable way for a publicly owned utility to treat the public?’


Joe Q. Public – a pen name – is a resident of Guam and GPA ratepayer.


  • I would have told them, ‘The Type of Appliances and Number of AC Units are not of their business’. LOL

  • So how quick will GPA resolve an issue of a meter registering high power consumption? Will GPA blame the lone home occupant of carelessness and not being mindful to be energy-saving conscious? I’m anxious to find out how fast they will resolve my SIL’ high power bill.

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