Assessment Shows Guam Power Plant ‘Beyond Repair’

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Damaged in 2015 fire, Cabras is ‘a total loss’

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 19, 2016) – One of the two Cabras power plants damaged by an explosion and subsequent fire last August is considered "beyond repair," according to Consolidated Commission on Utilities documents.

A preliminary investigation by representatives of insurers and a parallel investigation for Guam Power Authority confirmed GPA’s concerns, first voiced in October, that Cabras 4 power plant could end up a total loss, said CCU Chairman Joey Duenas Thursday.

The second power plant, Cabras 3, will cost almost $40 million to repair and for the building structure to be restored following its partial collapse, according to a preliminary assessment for CCU, which serves as GPA’s board.

The estimate includes a 20 percent "contingency" for unforeseen repair and rebuilding costs.

The issue was discussed at a work session of the CCU commissioners Thursday.

The commissioners are scheduled to meet on Tuesday next week, possibly to decide whether the repairs to Cabras 3 and its building should proceed.

It’s still unclear what the total loss of Cabras 4 and the repairs to Cabras 3 would mean to ratepayers.

GPA had previously estimated the damage cost could range from $100 million to $150 million.

Cabras 3 and 4 are two decades old, half the age of older Cabras 1 and 4 power plants.

GPA has leased a 40-megawatt temporary power generation system to help stabilize island-wide power supply.

Without knowing the root cause of last August’s explosion, GPA wouldn’t know if insurance would pay for the repairs to Cabras 3 and the total loss of Cabras 4.

Insurers and GPA await a more detailed investigation to determine the root cause of the explosion, Duenas said.

He said he has previously stated concerns about pre-explosion problems at Cabras’ power plants.

At the Tuesday meeting, Duenas plans to bring up concerns he has expressed before: whether Cabras power plants have been undergoing proper upkeep.

Last year, GPA’s insurance claims for a $4.6 million repair bill for the Cabras 3 power plant — before the explosion and fire on Aug. 31 — were denied, documents show.

GPA had paid the repair bill out of pocket, using money from a self-insurance surcharge that’s part of customers’ power bills, and hoped that insurance would later cover the cost.

Cabras 3 power plant’s generator rotor shaft had cracks that were discovered in October 2013.

"Experts noted the cracks are a gradual wear and tear issue; routinely dealt with during preventive maintenance," according to GPA, in a report last year to its governing board.

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