The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.'s utility consumption more than doubled last month, taking many of its officials by surprise and prompting calls for clarification from the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
CUC billed the health corporation $491,000 for its June consumption alone, an amount that corporation chief financial officer Alvaro Santos described as “too high” when compared to usage in previous months, which averaged over $200,000 up to $300,000 monthly.
Santos said he will seek an explanation and clarification from CUC on how the “excessive” billing was reached. A breakdown of all the items under the billing will also be verified before any payment is made.
“We will verify how accurate their billing [statement] because $491,000 is a lot. It shows a big jump from previous months' consumption. We normally average less than that and we need to find out what happened. We need an explanation,” he told Saipan Tribune.
According to him, the corporation it is trying its best to settle its outstanding debts despite its financial struggles. For the months of March and April, Santos said the corporation paid CUC $216,000. He acknowledged that a huge amount is still owed CUC, representing arrears in previous years.
The healthcare corporation, the former Department of Public Health, is among the three biggest customers of CUC. The other two are public schools and the central government itself.
Based on CUC records, these three customers have arrears totaling $9.2 million as of May 31. PSS owes the highest amount, $3.8 million, while the public hospital owes $3 million. The central government, which includes its instrumentalities, owes CUC $2.5 million during the same period.
CUC is a nonprofit organization whose operation relies heavily on the payment of power, water, and wastewater consumers. The agency remains under a state of emergency.