Troy Talks: Episode 21 • Chop chop, senators. Or your inaction will cause load shedding in two months and for the next two years

Remember when everyone in Guam was losing their shit because of load shedding? It was November. I know this because Guam Power Authority thought it was a good idea to give out Thanksgiving cooking tips for saving energy. I’m still laughing about that. 

Around that same time, GPA was working on a solution to avert load shedding for the next two years while the Ukudu Power Plant is being built. That plant will do far more than avert load shedding for decades. But that story about how Ukudu will start an era of cheaper power bills is for another day. The problem we have to deal with until Ukudu is online is how do we keep the lights on when Guam becomes hotter. 

And that’s coming soon. 

There hasn’t been much load shedding from around Thanksgiving up to now. That’s because it’s been relatively cool, especially at night and into the morning. And so far fewer homes are turning on the ACs. In just a few days and weeks, it’s going to get hotter. And then the heat will be so high come April or May that thousands more AC units will go on at virtually the same time and for virtually the same amount of time every night. Until November, when the heat dies down again. 

And GPA just doesn’t have the power generation capacity to supply that demand. To be exact: all our additional AC use from April/May through November will overtax the power system by 12 megawatts every night between April/May to November from about 6 pm to 11 pm. 

Back to the GPA plan that was put into motion at the height of the load shedding problems. In November last year, Will Parkinson introduced a bill in the legislature on behalf of GPA that will allow GPA to hire a company through the government procurement process to bring on 20 additional megawatts of power generation within a six-month approval process and development period. The bill, if passed into law, will exempt GPA for just this one project from the requirement to stop the project if someone files a procurement protest. 

The thing is, senators didn’t do anything with the bill until February 15. And even if the speaker or the governor call senators into emergency session by the end of this week to pass this bill and it becomes law by the end of the month (Thursday), the project won’t be done until at least September. And that’s at least four months into the hot season. That’s four months without this project being online, when we likely will suffer through load shedding because the senators decided to take their sweet time with this.

According to the legislative history of that bill, Mr. Parkinson introduced it on November 29. Chris Barnett the next day referred the bill to Sabina Perez’s committee. Ms. Perez waited until February 15 to have the required public hearing. One week later her committee filed the required committee report.

Despite how important senators must have noted the load shedding problem was to us common heathens, they decided to take care of Christmas shopping, the Chinese New Year, and Valentine’s Day before sending this extremely critical and time sensitive bill to the floor for debate then on to the governor for signature.

Normally I’d care about a sound procurement process. And I still do in this case. I just care more about my power at home being on more than I care about what company will make money from this. By all means, make your money if it means GPA will keep my power on. Perhaps senators can add language that some procurement professional should oversee the request for proposal drafting, issuance, and acceptance process, and the selection and negotiations process. Maybe senators can even add language to this Parkinson bill that anyone caught and convicted of corrupting this process will face a mandatory sentence of five years in prison.

I don’t know. And, frankly, I don’t care. What I care about is that I don’t have a 20kw generator to keep my aircon running when the power goes out. I care about my power at home staying on. It won’t matter to me how many publicly-paid discounts senators approve to my power bill if my power doesn’t stay on at home. When April and May roll around and that first night of elevated heat causes load shedding, I will light a candle in my home, go live in all my anger, and remind everyone that this time isn’t GPA’s fault. Senators screwed this one up.

Hamyo i man’magas gi isla’ta. Sustieni I kandit para hita. Or don’t even think of asking for my vote in November.


  • robert e. koss

      02/28/2024 at 3:59 PM

    Why does GPA not have the ability to meet the demand? We have been paying some absurdly high rates and GPA cant get the job done! (We have been paying inflated rates to make the Ukodo power rate charged by Korea Electric seem low and we are suppose to be so happy about it nobody will complain. its a scam.) CCU has been sitting on their hands, why? Why wont GPA allow solar powered homes to contribute to the grid? Where are the fast track generators that should be on stand by in the event they are needed? Why are we laying off GPA generation employees and replacing them with foreign workers. I smell corruption and it really stinks. Moreover, I see the harm the CCU is doing to our island and it is long term damage. We have likely been betrayed by our own.

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