Håfa adai. The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to face the challenges amid this ongoing pandemic, we must also keep up with planning and preparing to respond to all other health disasters such as epidemics, which could also threaten our lives and cause ruin to our way of life. Epidemics are regional outbreaks of communicable diseases such as the avian influenza, which affected Asia in the early 2000s or the ebola virus, which affected populations primarily on the African continent.

Pandemics are outbreaks of a communicable disease that affect populations around the world. Epidemics and pandemics should be included among the natural disasters to which our communities are potentially vulnerable. Epidemics and pandemics differ from other natural disasters like typhoons, in that, epidemics and pandemics can have a prolonged duration, lasting for longer periods of time.

During this past year, our community focus has been on essential providers of service such as our hospitals, public health facilities, correctional facilities, public safety organizations, port operations, and educational facilities; all of which are truly essential. I would also suggest that the Guam Waterworks Authority and the Guam Power Authority utilities provide essential services and perform critical infrastructure work ensuring continuity of water and power functions, which everyone needs.

The services both GWA and GPA provide are indeed critical to protecting public health and maintaining public safety, as well as helping sustain the economic wellbeing and normal day-to-day life. These two utilities provide service to all other essential providers of service, including hospitals, homes for our elderly and dialysis centers, by delivering uninterrupted water and power service, especially during a public health emergency. Even more broadly, these utilities provide services that are critically important to our entire island during this pandemic, because battling the transmission of COVID-19 includes depending on reliable water and power services for frequent hand washing.

Furthermore, in response to this pandemic, both utilities are reviewing and updating their standard operating procedures and authority policies, focusing on maintaining an adequate workforce, protecting employees’ health, ensuring regulatory compliance and reassessing and updating their business continuity plans.

On behalf of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, I commend the management and staff of GWA and GPA for their good work and dedication in serving our island community every day. I encourage you all to continue to strive to improve your skills and proficiency in your work. Also, I thank your families for supporting you and acknowledge the sacrifices that you and they make for the good of our people.

Every dollar of revenue that GWA and GPA receives comes from you, our ratepayers – our families, friends and neighbors – and I assure you that every member of the CCU and the management of both GWA and GPA are committed to striving to be the best utilities they can be, to serve you.

Thank you.


Joseph “Joey” T. Duenas is chairman of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities.

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