A bill that could help the Department of Education cut the cost of electricity using renewable energy sources raised some concerns voiced by utilities' officials.
Speaker Judith Won Pat introduced Bill 74, which would allow Guam DOE to enter into a partnership with a qualified renewable energy provider to help contain the millions the school system spends yearly on power bills.
Superintendent Jon Fernandez wrote in support of the bill, noting the agency's power bill continues to climb.
"Unfortunately, despite the conscientious effort of reducing our power consumption, GDOE continues to experience an increase in our billings," Fernandez stated in his written testimony.
The school system had a power bill of $14.46 million in fiscal 2012. Fernandez said the school system's kilowatt-hour usage in the first half of fiscal 2013 decreased by nearly 6 percent when compared to the first half of fiscal 2012, yet its power bill still increased by $174,000 -- roughly 2.4 percent.
He added that any savings would be diverted into the classrooms and school sites to improve the services and infrastructure for students. Alternative energy cap
Fernandez has noted that there's a cap on the amount of alternative energy the department is able to use, which could limit the agency's ability to use alternative energy sources to their full potential.
Bill Hagen, co-owner of Pacific Solar & Photovoltaics, who submitted written testimony in support of the bill, stated the bill doesn't address the cap on alternative energy.
"To date, GPA's sales of electricity from renewable sources stands at zero while the private sector continues to build renewable capacity hampered only by PL 30-14," Hagen said. "This law restricts the size of net metering facilities connected to GPA's grid at 25 KW for residential and 100 KW for non-residential installations."
John Benavente, general manager of the Consolidated Utility Services, said the cap on alternative energy usage exists because GPA wants to make sure their agency maintains a stable system.