Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 19 Jun 2018 12am

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    Monday, June 18, 2018-3:38:58P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Ratepayer wants CUC to disconnect delinquent gov’t agencies

A RATEPAYER from Koblerville said delinquent government agencies are “totally irresponsible” and “reckless” and should pay their utility bills.

“Those agencies have dollars, not nickels and dimes, so what is their problem when it comes to paying?” said Jack Muna, referring to the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Public School System.

On Friday, Sen. Sixto Igisomar said CPA owed the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. over $23 million as of Dec. 2017; CHCC, over $20.4 million; and PSS, close to $300,000.

Jack MunaJack Muna

But in his report to the CUC board, CUC chief financial officer Tony Castro said PSS is now current with its utility payments.

Igisomar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications, said the CNMI government owes CUC over $50 million.

Muna said it is “ridiculous” to allow delinquent agencies to continue connecting to the CUC power grid.

“What is wrong with them? We paying customers have to look for nickels and dimes to pay CUC for our power bills while government agencies are taking advantage of the situation.”

He said CPA management and the board, for example, should look for ways to pay their CUC bills.

“They should prioritize their obligations to CUC just as any other ratepayer does,” he added.

Muna said CUC needs money to run its power plants while CPA needs CUC power to run the airports. “So CPA should help CUC,” he added.

Muna said CUC may be taking action to collect from delinquent government accounts but, he added, it remains to be seen how far CUC will go.

He said the only “solution” is to disconnect delinquent power consumers even if they are government agencies.

“Why did CUC let these agencies accumulate millions of dollars in unpaid bills and still allow them to keep their power on? CUC is not as aggressive as it should be.”

Muna said CUC should stop its “double-standard” policy and treat all ratepayers fairly.

“I am surprised that no one ever took CUC to court about this. I want CUC to ‘walk the talk’ and not ‘talk the walk, ’” he added

Muna said CUC is improving, but not enough to satisfy most of its customers. He said customer service, in particular, has not improved, especially for those who want to pay their bills at the CUC office.