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By Brenda Sommer

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (March 16, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Power to government offices in Tinian and Rota was being restored yesterday after a $1.174 million payment was made to the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation.

The utility agency and the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands reached a payment agreement March 14, according to a CUC press release.

The agreement calls for the government to pay $800,000 per month to the utility, and to work to "process surplus funds" towards the CNMI government's $12 million total debt to the utility, the release said.

The $1.174 million transferred by the CNMI Department of Finance is payment in full of the past-due accounts for Rota and Tinian, the release said.

The utility agency, a government agency that supplies electricity to Saipan, Rota and Tinian, sent disconnection notices in late January and early February to CNMI government agencies with past-due utility accounts.

CUC crews began disconnecting power Monday to government offices in Rota and Tinian after attempts to collect payment or arrange for a payment plan with the CNMI government failed, the utility agency said.

Payments had been made earlier on behalf of Saipan government offices threatened with cutoffs.

Because the government is the utility's largest user, CUC officials have said, payments to its fuel supplier, Mobil Oil Micronesia, were threatened.

Power to critical government services -- hospital, traffic and streetlights, police and emergency management offices -- would not be terminated, according to Pacific Daily News files.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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