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Saturday, April 19, 2014

CUC installing free temporary post-paid meters

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is installing post-paid meters among its electric customers for free while the agency rectifies technical problems with its prepaid machine.

CUC chief financial officer Charles Warren said this effort aims to minimize and prevent any inconvenience among power patrons who use pre-paid meters for their electric consumption.

The utilities corporation early this month announced that there will be a delay in the installation of pre-paid meters as a result of upgrades needed for the metering program.

Warren assured that CUC is addressing the issue and in fact has taken necessary actions to resolve the problem immediately.

First, the failed system component has already been identified and ordered from a vendor, with expected delivery on island on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Warren said a prepaid system vendor engineering staff had also generated replacement tokens of $50 denomination. All customers who had previously attempted to purchase tokens were also contacted by CUC, either by phone or home visit.

According to Warren, the CUC cashier and customer service office remained open until 11pm Thursday night to accommodate customers needing tokens.

He disclosed that 218 customers have purchased tokens since the token machine failed.

“Post-pay electric meters are being installed for those customers unable to return to CUC for tokens. CUC is installing at no charge standard electric meters to ensure service while the system is repaired,” said Warren.

Thus far, he said, 34 meters have been installed on Saipan, 19 on Rota, and none on Tinian.

Despite the ongoing failure of the pre-paid machine, CUC claims that reports of prolonged power interruptions were never reported to the office.

“To CUC’s knowledge, no customers experienced prolonged power interruption. CUC crews worked until 3am Thursday night to install post-pay meters to affected customers,” he said, adding that post-pay meters will continue to be installed free of charges on an as-needed basis.

“Any prepaid customers who have purchased the $50 tokens and are experiencing a power outage over the long weekend due to the token availability issue are encouraged to call the CUC hotline at 664-4CUC. Crews will be dispatched to install temporary post-paid meters,” said Warren.

He apologized for any inconvenience caused by the failure of the prepaid meter token machine. “There was no prior indication of any issues with the machine, or any warnings that a component failure was imminent,” he added.

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