CNMI Government Owes Utility Corporation $45 Million

Public school system only agency fully paid up

By Junhan B. Todiño

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Oct. 10, 2017) – The government’s unpaid utility bill had reached $44.9 million as of Oct. 4, 2017, Commonwealth Utilities Corp. Executive Director Gary Camacho said.

Based on information provided by CUC chief financial officer Antonio Castro, Camacho said the central government owes CUC $5.5 million, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., $18.7 million, and other government agencies, $20.4 million.

“Only the [Public School System] is current with its account,” Camacho added.

On Thursday, CUC launched the web-based electric prepay program. Asked if it will ensure prompt payments from government accounts, Camacho said they are discussing the new program with the government.

Finance Secretary Larissa Larson said the government is “excited” to avail itself of the new program.

“It will reduce the receivables,” she added.

By November, Camacho said prepaid meters will be installed for all government accounts.

Larson said the government is also working very closely with CUC to resolve outstanding bills. The “overall goal is to get to the point where we are current with our payments,” she added.

But she said several government accounts are being disputed.

“We are going one by one with the disputed accounts,” she said, adding that as CUC “clears” these accounts they will be taken off the record.

“We have resolved lots of outstanding balance that we had over the years and now it’s a matter of going one by one with the accounts,” Larson said.

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