Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 21 Nov 2019 12am







    Wednesday, November 20, 2019-8:12:57P.M.






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CUC will not disconnect CHCC

THE Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will not issue a notice of disconnection to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. whose delinquent accounts have already reached $32 million.

“I’m not in a position and I’m really not interested in jeopardizing the operation of the island’s only hospital and its critical facilities,” CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho said.

Gary Camacho

He added that CHCC should also understand that CUC is a critical government agency, too.

He noted that after Typhoons Soudelor and Yutu devastated the island in Aug. 2015 and Oct. 2018, CUC sustained a lot of damage, “but we still ensured that the hospital would remain on the power grid.”

He added, “I hope CHCC [officials] will do their part and, like everybody else, will pay their utility bills.”

CHCC’s monthly power and water bill amounts to $400,000, Camacho said.

He said CUC wants CHCC to agree on a payment scheme.

“I’m hopeful that we can communicate soon,” Camacho said referring to CHCC.

Camacho said CHCC’s failure to pay its bills is affecting CUC’s ability to purchase materials for its power plant and for its water and wastewater programs.

“Inevitably it’s going to affect our operation. We’ll have to use ratepayer’s revenues that would normally go into buying parts and materials, and trucks and so forth,” he added.

He said CUC ended up paying a pass-through fuel charge to Mobil Oil because of the failure of some CUC customers, including the hospital, to regularly pay their bills.

“In reality, we’re sacrificing investments for the power plant, and the water and wastewater programs. Inevitably it’s going to affect everybody’s power supply, water, and wastewater. And that’s not right.”

In Dec. 2013, CUC sued CHCC to compel the islands’ only hospital to pay its then-outstanding debt of $9.69 million with prejudgment interest. The Superior Court also issued a temporary restraining order to prevent CUC from disconnecting the utilities of the hospital.

Then-Judge David Wiseman ordered CHCC to make timely payments of its monthly billings exclusive of any interest or penalties, subject to any negotiations on which the parties might agree.