‘Bill protecting water consumers from being overcharged offensive to CUC’

Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) said he didn’t intend to offend the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. when he introduced a bill to protect water consumers from being overcharged after Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation.

At the CUC board meeting last Wednesday, Igisomar said Senate Bill 20-114 that he recently introduced looks for a middle ground between CUC and its customers.

“The purpose really is to help the community to alleviate the stress level,” he said.

The senator said in essence the whole reason why he introduced the legislation is to not overburden CUC with complaints of overbilling water.

Igisomar said with Yutu’s devastation, a lot of pipes were broken and so when CUC brought back water distribution in some areas, many people were not aware of it as they were either in shelters or in the homes of their relatives.

He said when these people came back to their homes, they found that their water faucets or pipes were just flowing.

Under Igisomar’s bill, CUC is asked that for their billing after Oct. 24, November and December, not to charge them with exorbitant fees.

Igisomar said to address the problem, he is, however, open to any idea, which is faster, either it is his legislation or if there is any CUC regulations in place.

He said CUC was able to operate water faster than normal after the typhoon which caught a lot of customers off guard as there were pipes leaking.

The senator said he is pleading to the CUC board and the CUC management for favorable consideration to the people who are still trying to recover from Yutu’s devastation.

Igisomar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Utilities, congratulated CUC staff with the leadership of executive director Gary P. Camacho and all its managers, as well as volunteers from overseas, for the recovery efforts of power and water distributions on Saipan and Tinian.

CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho said the idea of the bill is obviously good as it is to ensure water billing accuracy.

Camacho said the legislation is a quicker response, but they must always consider customers, but never forget the requirements of CUC.

“I think if we can do both of those, I think will win,” he said.

Camacho said they are trying to see their policy first as they may already have something in place that encompass this area.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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