Marianas Variety

Wednesday, April 16, 2014-12:11:23A.M.

Last updateWed, 16 Apr 2014 12am



Fitial extends CUC emergency

THREE days after Senate President Paul A. Manglona said the Senate should reject it, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial on Saturday extended his emergency declaration for the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.

Benigno Fitial
One of the new concerns, Fitial stated in the extension, is the need for a “unified” government approach to resolve the fiscal crises of the government and  CUC.

This unified effort, the governor emphasized, can only be achieved through an emergency declaration.

Since the nominations of  Joe C. Guerrero, Zenie P. Mafnas and Oscar P. Quitugua have been confirmed, the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission already has a quorum and can review contracts for the procurement of renewable energy.

But the governor said “these contracts must be brought to completion as soon as possible or customers of CUC will continue to suffer from high oil prices.”

CUC had been in a state of emergency from Aug. 2008 to March of last year.

Fitial announced the latest emergency declaration on May 18, 2012, citing CUC’s lack of funds, inability to procure renewable energy and lack of technical workers.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Manglona, Ind.-Rota said he could only hope the governor was not using his emergency power to “circumvent” the rules in procuring renewable energy and hiring of technical workers.

He believes the awarding of renewable energy contracts cannot start until the commission works closely with CUC’s acting executive director.

He reiterated that Fitial should not “circumvent” the power of commission that was set up to protect the consumers.

For his part, Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu, Ind.-Rota and  chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications, said the intent of Fitial’s emergency declaration is “unacceptable.”