Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2019 12am







    Monday, June 17, 2019-8:51:00P.M.






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Governor still looking for individuals to appoint to utilities commission

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres said his administration continues to look for individuals willing to serve on the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission.

In an interview, he said he has approached some individuals in the private sector, but “they often have conflicts of interest.”

The CPUC ceased operations in May 2016 after the terms of Joseph Guerrero and Oscar Quitugua expired. The remaining commissioner, Dave Guerrero, resigned in Dec. 2016 while the contract of the commission’s hearing examiner, Harry Boertzel, expired in Oct. 2017.

In Feb, 2018, the governor appointed James Diego Benavente of Saipan and Benjamin Huk Lunag Borja of Tinian to the commission.

However,  Benavente’s nomination was later recalled due to a conflict of interest,  Press Secretary Kevin Bautista said in a separate interview.

Bautista said the governor “intends to find other suitable and appropriately qualified persons for the CPUC.”

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has several pending petitions that it filed with CPUC. These include a disaster-recovery surcharge, which will amount to $0.0145 per kilowatt hour, and a capital-improvement surcharge of $0.0225 per kilowatt hour.

Also pending are a rate application to establish a uniform residential electric rate, and the elimination of the water electric charge while increasing the electric base rates to recover lost revenue.

The governor told Variety that he will also continue to look for an off-island individual with experience in utilities so he or she can be appointed to the CUC board.

The law mandates that the CUC board must include a representative from the private sector outside the CNMI.

 “We hope to have an off-island nominee in a couple of weeks,” the governor said.