Guam has been neglecting its electric power system for a long time. Cabras 3 and 4 became unrepairable last year, but there was no effort made to replace the lost generating capacity. The loss of Cabras 3 and 4 put increased workload on all other GPA generators. Cabras 1 sprung a leak last Friday, and Cabras 2 went down unexpectedly on Tuesday. This has resulted in rolling blackout on Guam since Tuesday, and expected to continue at least the rest of this week.
GPA wants to build a new 120-megawatt generator, which could cost $400 million. They proposed the new generator last year, but it was vetoed because it is too expensive. If they go forward with the new generator now, it will take three years to build, but they will need it sooner because Cabras 1 and 2 are breaking down. Look for occasional rolling blackouts on Guam for the next three years or more.
It is important for every community everywhere to properly maintain its electric system. This situation on Guam is a warning that when things go bad, it can take a long time to set things right.
Philip Dauterman, MD