Credits Go Out To CNMI Utility’s Residential Customers

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Saipan casino deal puts $10 million into community pockets

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 3, 2014) – Residential ratepayers in the Northern Marianas are getting a windfall this month as each residential account gets a $635.71 credit courtesy of the Best Sunshine International’s $10 million community chest funds.

In a release Friday, CUC Executive Director Alan W. Fletcher announced, "The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation has distributed utility bill credits as established by Best Sunshine International Limited and the Governor’s Office. Under the credit-voucher program, a credit of $635.71 has been credited to each residential utility account."

This credit, he said, was due to the $10 million Community Chest Agreement between Best Sunshine and the CNMI.

The $10,000,000 was distributed to eligible residential accounts through an electronic credit process.

Last Friday, Fletcher clarified that the money would be distributed to residential accounts, not to persons.

He said all accounts were treated equally and would be getting the same credit.

"We have a uniform rate plan for all customers," he said.

Fletcher said that they based their computation on the 15,615 in total meter accounts and wish to make sure that everybody gets the credit.

"All active CUC residential accounts, pre-paid meter accounts, and inactive residential accounts with a service location and meter on residential property as of October 10, 2014, qualify under the credit-voucher program," he said in a release.

He said the Administration had been wanting to assist those who needed help.

Fletcher, in a release, further clarified, "All credit-vouchers are in the form of an electronic credit to eligible accounts. No physical paper vouchers are issued and the credit will count towards each eligible account’s utility billings for water, waste water and electricity. Eligibility is on an account basis only and not directed to individual persons."

He also said that the credit-voucher has strict limitations.

"The credit-vouchers are limited to one credit-voucher per CUC account number and are not dependent on the number of people living at the service location. The credit-vouchers have no cash value, are not redeemable for cash or services or any other benefits, and are not transferable," he said.

He also said that credit-voucher eligibility decisions are non-disputable under the billing dispute provisions of CUC’s regulations.

"All unused voucher credits will expire on October 31, 2015," he said.

In last Friday’s handover ceremony, both acting Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider and Senate President Ralph DLG Torres were equally pleased with the good news from CUC and Best Sunshine.

"It’s a great gift for our customers," said Fletcher citing the forthcoming holiday season.

Best Sunshine International was represented by senior vice president for corporate marketing Jacqueline Wu.

Wu told officials that they too at Best Sunshine were happy with this contribution to the community.

"We are happy and grateful," said Wu.

Further, Fletcher said the ratepayers should refer to their latest billing.

"Check your bill," said Fletcher.

CUC’s Oct. 31 release said residential account holders should check their November billing — which reflects their October utility use — for the credit amount applied to the utility bill.

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