PSS utility costs expected to be in line with budget


The Public School System expects to be in line with their utility budget unlike last year, according to Derek Sasamoto, PSS finance and budget director.

In a Board of Education meeting Tuesday, Sasamoto presented updates on the system’s budget for the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. as well as information assessing utility expenditures throughout the past fiscal year.

“Unless we do something really crazy with our utility usage, we are going to be in line with the budget, unlike last year,” he said.

In his report, which reflects July’s billings, PSS has a remaining utility budget of $384,000 for the last two months of the fiscal year.

According to Sasamoto, their CUC budget is $2.3 million and so far expenses are at $1.915 million.

He said CUC is PSS’ biggest variable cost and emphasized the actions being taken to address this, as well assessment of usage among PSS schools and locations.

PSS is averaging about $183,000 in utility costs, which is “quite in line with budget” according to Sasamoto.

Adding about $20,000 in average water costs, “every month we’re looking at about $200,000 a month in utility charges,” Sasamoto said.

June showed peak charges with $217,000 in costs—outside of the monthly budget—according to Sasamoto, with low charge during July, a summer month.

He highlighted January’s costs of $125,000—a reduction of 41 percent in average monthly costs.

He stressed that usage behaviors “really do dictate” costs and can result in a lot of savings.

“Looking at January, that was a full operation month, and we did well, so we are going to really encourage the schools to monitor their behavior in terms of utility usage,” he said.

He called the 41-percent reduction “amazing” and that if PSS schools make this a trend, they can save over $100,000 a month over the fiscal year.

“[That is] $1.2 million back into PSS’ operational account,” he said, and stressed how savings could be used at their own discretion for school infrastructure, supplies, and personnel.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.